Monday, April 13, 2015

Open Veins

In 2009 the late president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, presented president of the U.S. Barack Obama with a copy of Eduardo Galeano's The Open Veins of Latin America. There is a picture of this event on my own copy of the book, which I bought on account of my own personal encounter with a Venezuelan national.

Chavez's gesture was more subversive than charitable, a kind of cynical joke made at the expense of the new American president. How so? Because Galeano's book is a lyrical and prophetic account of U.S. political and economic relations with Latin America. More specifically, it chronicles the repeated exploitation which North America (and Europe) has engaged in for centuries throughout the continent of South America, with the regions natural resources being greedily pillaged for the sake of Western progress and at the cost of human and non-human life.

Whatever you think of Chavez, you have to admire his cojones. Chavez has been dead a couple of years now. Galeano died today.