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Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Seven years after Open Veins of Latin America was published, the author, Eduardo Galeano, added a postword chapter.  In it, he summed up the book, stating “This book was written to have a talk with people.  A non-specialized writer wanted to tell a non-specialized public about certain facts that official history, history as told by conquerors, hides or lies about…Open Veins has its roots in reality but also in other books…which have helped us recognize what we are so as to know what we can be, and see where we come from so as to reckon more clearly where we’re going.  The reality and those books show that underdevelopment in Latin America is a consequence of development elsewhere, that we Latin Americans are poor because the ground we tread is rich, and that places privileged by nature have been cursed by history.”  (Emphasis added by me.)

I can’t sum up the book better than that, of course.  It’s  an unapologetic history of the “pillage of a continent”, from the discovery of the new world by Columbus all the way up to the manipulative IMF banking practices and extensive US interference of the 1970s.  Galeano doesn’t hide his leftist leanings but the book is chock full of example after example that make him impossible to disagree with.  Imperialism, in all the ways it’s manifested itself throughout history, ruined Latin America and its effects will continue to be felt for centuries.

Has anyone else read this?  What do you think of that quote?

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About Carrie

Carrie's got the traveling bug and thinks "settling down" is overrated. Too many people to meet, places to see, and languages to learn!

Posted on April 13, 2011, in Literature and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Simon Brakebill

    havenot read it

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