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D Galeano also takes care to mention the many uprisings and resistance fighters and the violence they were met with and also success stories like Cuba Essential readingThere are always politicians and technocrats ready to show that the invasion of industrialising foreign capital benefits the area invaded In this version the new model imperialism comes on a euinely civilizing mission is a blessing to the dominated countries and the true love declarations by the dominant power of the moment are its real intentions Guilty consciences are ths relieved of the need for alibis for no one is uilty today s imperialism radiates techology and progress and even the use of this old unpleasant word to define it is in bad taste But when imperialism begins exalting its own virtues we should take a look in our pockets We find that the new model does not make its colonies prosperous although it enriches their poles of development it does not ease social and regional tensions but aggravates them it spreads poverty even widely and concentrates wealth even narrowly it pays wages twenty times lower than in Detroit and charges prices three times higher than in New York it takes over the internal market and the mainsprings of the productive apparatus it assumes proprietary rights to chart the course and fix the frontiers of progress it controls national credit and orients external trade at its whim it denationalises not only industry but the profits earned by industry it fosters the waste of resources by diverting a large part of the economic surplus abroad it does not bring in capital for investment but takes it out Incredibly informative well researched and thought out book that provides context into how Latin America ot to the state it is in today When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez presented President Obama with a copy of Eduardo Galeano s Open Veins of Latin America during a summit meeting in 2009 the intellectually Tasting Paris (The Good Doctor Trilogy, gouty noise machine of the bourgeoisie began to flap its collective jowls calling theift an insult to America and Obama s acceptance of it a sign of his acuiescence to communist influences The truths contained in the Material Child gift were essentially ignored by the right wind punditry because truth and history have no place in the circus of sound bite chicanery not when the mainstream media is little than a clown car of corporate maleficence whose acuiescence in the plunder and economic repression of Latin America continues unabated the media s boosting of NAFTA for instance is an excellent example of imperialistic mechanisms at workOriginally published in the early 70s Open Veins of Latin America is an elouently written vivid examination of five centuries ofenocide theft and political interference by European and American economic interests And while Galeano writes with passion and artistry his history is not the hysterical harangue the noise machine would have us believe The book is well researched and documented but Galeano s intensity and skill as a writer adds His Convenient Marchioness (Lords at the Altar gravitas to the irrefutable evidence he presents a thing the noise machine cannot abide They fear his elouence but their attempt to invalidate the book through misdirection using the threadbare histrionics of anti communism failed Open Veins of Latin America is a powerful rejoinder to the stupidity andreed inherent in international corporatism both past and present Open Veins was a title in the Hugo Chavez Book Club the Venezuelan strongman surprised President Barrack Obama with a copy in 2009 Open Veins was written by a novelist in the vivid prose of a novel and the history takes many liberties making it like historic fiction On pg 283 author Galeano cited Chilean dictator Pinochet leaving 30000 dead which didn t ring true to my memory A uick check of Wikipedia shows various reports and investigations claim that between 1200 and 3200 people were killed That is Galeano s Open Veins in a nutshell taking various misfortunes and admitted outrages and then massively exaggerating themHow does one rate a book like this which suffers from even a rudimentary understanding of economics eg repeated assertions that individual corporations control prices which is only true of monopolies and lays every conceivable ill of Latin America at the doorstop of capitalism Europe the IMF the United States and Latin American liberal advocates of market economies and free trade Score a 2 or 3 for Galeano writing in a trade Score a 2 or 3 for Galeano writing in a way I think of this as a story rather than history The first part detailing the evils of colonialism and the European importation of millions of African slaves is its best The story Rain Catchers goes downhill deep into 1 tierra as it drones on about American and British companies and the dictators they back supposedly destroying Latin America Hence Chavez s love of this book There is no attempt at balance Galeanoives individual names killed by a right wing military in Guatemala yet there is not one word about those killed by Che and Castro in Cuba This 1971 book and its 1978 update predate the worst of the Colombian FARC or the barbaric Communist Sendero Luminoso Shining Path rebellion that started in Peru in 1980 But the author has not a word about Leftist killings in Colombia Cuba Bolivia or anywhere else I place this tale at 15 starsGaleano idolizes the Aztecs Maya and Incas They had their accomplishments indeed but they were warlike practiced human sacrifice and enslaved other tribes Cortez s and Pizzaro s tiny bands would have been forced into the sea if not for the ability to raise huge indigenous armies thirsty to overthrow Aztec and Incan hegemony Without uestion the Spanish Dutch Portuguese and English mistreated the native peoples and African slaves The Broken Promise (Between Worlds greatest value of Open Veins is in the early pages which hold nothing back when vividly describing Spanish enslavement of Indians to work in theold and silver mines and to work the haciendas The Spanish didn t bring wives and took Indian women at Keeping Two, Part 2 gunpoint if needed Galeano fails to see the connection between early Spanish rule and the present but other thoughtful authors have fingered the mordida bribe culture of colonial Spain and authoritarian caudillo rule as continuing today in many Latin American countries Open Veins is not shy in its Marxist economic critiue Galeanoleefully flies in "the face of mainstream economics with strident advocacy of protectionism He is practically the last person " face of mainstream economics with strident advocacy of protectionism He is practically the last person to think communism was a rousing success in Cuba The book suffers from a rudimentary understanding of economics I found the freuent Marx and Lenin uotes jarring Even the phrasing is Marxian Most of Latin America saw the back of colonial Spain two centuries ago In Galliano s view nothing changed with new masters imperial England and the USA There is of course reat truth about Uncle Sam s involvement in Latin America Although in typical fashion Galeano exaggerates Marines here there everywhere I don t pretend to be an expert on everything that ever happened in Latin America but Open Veins doesn t mesh with what I ve read elsewhere about the end of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic Ford in the Mexico the Panama Canal Walker in Nicaragua and the like In so many cases there is a kernel of truth to EuropeanAmerican heavy handedness but Galeano is like a steam roller using outlandish emotional statements eg seemingly voluntary economic transactions are actually plunder devastation and slavery There is absolutely nothing here about say Western medicine conuering malaria Yankee odless technology built a leisure class of a fortunate few in Lima Caracas Buenos Aires etc Galeano s cluelessnes. E exposé which all students of Latin American and US history must read ChoiceWell written and passionately state. This The Miners Wife guy writes fiction likes it s non fiction and non fiction likes it s fiction He blends in and out better tha Eduardo Galeano passionately recounts the horrific events of the last 7 centuries in Latin America I am neither a history buff nor Latino insider so I discovered uite a bit even as I concurrently traveled and experienced aspects of the region firsthand It should be noted however that the author applies no science or organization to his storytelling Facts are obviously molded for dramatic appeal handpicking specific dates excerpts from JFK speeches etc Footnotes are lacking for a staggering amount of uantitative data despite their couth and seemingly objective presentation Even as I read this book with arain of salt I still found it powerful For if only a tenth of what is said were true it would still be a humanitarian story worth telling I hope to learn about these forgotten people of Latin America For the past month I have been collecting my thoughts and writing them out and putting them into paragraphs and shaping those paragraphs into a longer article of some sort But nothing h I read this book out of curiosity and interest in Latin America I was advised that it was just rant or left wing rant but decided to see for myself I came away with this as the main idea in Latin America free enterprise is incompatible with civil liberties as Galeano says in his commentary on the book in an afterward The book catalogues the exploitation of the people usually the indigenous people by South American oligarchies and by their European and North American affiliatesIt s certainly been a controversial book First published in 1971 and often condemned and freuently banned in Latin America I doubt it s been on the radar in North American very long The current edition was published in 1997 with a foreward by Isabel Allende It s been in the news recently when President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela Une modernisation manquée (1915-1956) gave a copy to Obama and then when commentators speculated on whether or not he would read it Actually I hope he did My first impression was that Galeano s detractors were right the book was just rant Galeano is a journalist and he knows how to use words to move readers My impression was that every sentence in the first chapter had emotionally loaded words If his ideas hadn t piued my curiosity I might have put it down Ensuing chapters might come to emotionally loaded conclusions but the presentation of evidence was impressive I can t endorse the ideas completely because I don t know enough to evaluate everything he says but I was impressedGaleano s thesis is that the first the European conuerors Spain and Portugal later European business interests mainly the British and finally the USovernment and business have promised developmental assistance but delivered subservience largely by economic means by keeping production costs low using raw materials and cheap labor from Latin American and then selling products for large profits even selling them back to Latin American countries at the same time as they prevent them from producing their own products In what seemed to me a telling comparison he contrasts conuistadors arriving in Latin American with the expectation of taking riches home to Europe with settlers in New England fleeing Europe and determined to Her Hardest Choice grow their food and make the products they need for themselves and to stay not seek treasure to bring home In what turned out to be an advantage for North America there was noold or silver not even promising farms land so the British in comparison to the Iberians tended to ignore the colonies rather than plunder them In this idea Galeano reminds me of Fareed Zakaria s thesis in The Future of Freedom where he explains that wealth in the form of natural resources is actually a deterrent to democracy because leads to a ruling class that appropriates the resources and uses them to develop the country or to line own pockets rather than depending on the population to supply funds for the what Is Literature? and Other Essays government in the form of taxes Elections don t mean much if the people doing the electing have no power And clearly immigration to America took a far different path in the North than in the South The was the development of arowing middle class of local in North America something that didn t happen in most Latin American countries which developed local oligarchies who themselves continued to be exploited by powerful patrons Galeano s text is colorful and impressive even for someone like me for whom the names and historical events are not familiar He s a master at creating powerful and memorable phrases than sum up probably somewhat simplistically but I ended up thinking often right nonetheless the problem Underdevelopment in South America is a result of development elsewhere a Volkswagen Republic is much like a banana republic nationalization doesn t necessarily redistribute wealth Over and over again he talks about the wealth concentrated among an oligarchy and the widespread poverty at the bottom that has characterized many Latin American countries for centuries making it clear over and over again that the outposts pay the price for the wealth of the centers The centers were usually the ports that Passing the Louisiana LEAP Grade 8 in Science grew up to serve the Europeans and later North Americans who needed to ship theold the silver the meat the rubber the bananas or whateverIt s easy for a US citizen to agree with all the details about exploitation by Europeans harder to deal with exploitation by North Americans Legacy of Ashes The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner 2007 confirms US involvement in supporting the overnments and business leaders that supported the US companies It struck me reading about the maneuverings of American companies that whether needing bananas or rubber or petroleum they were operating not all that differently from how we re discovering they operate at home and it s abundantly clear at this point that the US is moving toward something like the Latin American republics with wealth increasingly concentrated among the few while the middle class which enabled the US to be different from its Latin American neighbors is dwindling Power in the US is increasingly in the hands of corporations often multi nationals with loyalties primarily to their own interests which may or may not be the people of the United States But perhaps I push this too far I have to note that Galeano as many other Latin Americans deplores the fact that the US has even co opted the name America I had a hard time avoiding it in this review Bottom line This is a highly emotional book but the logic and the evidence is uite definitely not lacking I tend to compare him to Michael Moore who oes after public attention with emotionally charged rhetoric but backs it up with facts and details that prove the need for drawing attention to the issue I cannot evaluate the detail and no doubt Galeano exaggerates and rants but it s still a compelling book that s worth the attention of a thinking person This is an
AGONIZINGLY LUCID ACCOUNT OF THE OF COLONISATION AND DEPREDATION lucid account of the of colonisation and depredation a continent Beginning with the continuing Four Men and a Funeral genocide of the native population seguing into the advent of slavery and its replacement with hunger wages for the same back breaking or in the case of the mines lung destroying work as the slaves were forced to carry out and concluding with the neocolonial extraction of Latin American resources by the USA and Europe whatever Latin America makes he argues its main export is cheap labour Corporate vampires and their helpers the USovernment local dictators the IMF and World Bank are thoroughly indicte. St Five Centuries of the Pillage of a ContinentA superbly written excellently translated and powerfully persuasiv.