The Open Veins of Latin America

Author: Dr. Bill // Category: , , , , , ,
The 13 American colonies weren’t exploited and subjugated like Latin America was because they weren’t as resource-rich and economically important to the European powers, says the book presented by Hugo Chávez to President Obama over the weekend.

Among the Uruguayan writer’s points in “Open Veins”:
– Europe’s exploitation of the southern hemisphere’s natural resources thwarted development: “The truth is that the economic insignificance of the 13 colonies permitted the early diversification of their exports and set off the early and rapid development of manufacturing. Even before independence, North American industrialization had official encouragement and protection. And England took a tolerant attitude while it strictly forbade its Antillean islands to manufacture so much as a pin.”

– The North’s victory in the Civil War solidified this protectionist, industrialized American economy, insuring what Galeano characterizes as a modern hypocrisy: “The United States, which itself operates an enormous protectionist system — tariffs, quotas, internal subsidies — has never earned a glance from the I.M.F. Toward Latin America, however, the I.M.F. is inflexible.”
– Modern licensing arrangements are exploitative too: “What should we say of the gratitude Latin America owes to Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which collect astronomical industrial licensing fees from their concessionaries for providing them with a paste that dissolves in water and is mixed with sugar and carbonation?”

The Open Veins of Latin America

Author: Dr. Bill // Category: , , , , ,

Yes, this is the book that Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez gave United States Pres. Barack Obama face to face. Chavez is a boor and a buffoon, and it could be taken as a gesture of supreme condescension that he gave the well-educated American president one of the standard texts of Latin American studies. Novelist/historian Eduardo Galeano is as well known to students of Latin American history and culture, including those in the USA, as Shelby Foote or Bernard Bailyn to students of North American history. The sorry truth, however, is that "Washington" has never demonstrated any knowledge of or sensitivity toward Latin America's understanding of itself, of its history. Obama SHOULD read this book, if he hasn't already. Galeano is a prototypical Latin American intellectual, and writes like one, with a heady mixture of disdain and outrage with bales of data. Even English readers who will dismiss his analysis as 'economic determinism' should be ready to meet Galeano, on his own terms, as a vivid example of the Latin American world-view. It's time Americans open their minds to the possibility that Latin Americans have something to say for themselves.

Review :

A superbly written, excellently translated, and powerfully persuasive exposé which all students of Latin American and U.S. history must read. - Choice

Well written and passionately stated, this is an intellectually honest and valuable study. - Library Journal

A dazzling barrage of words and ideas. - History

This is a must for people who like to know the truth of what happened in Latin America over the centuries of European influence... and the truth isn't pretty. Eduardo Galeano doesn't blame the American people for all of Latin American problems and incredible corruption at government and management levels, he points out at the American governments and their foreign policy; the fact remains we, Latin Americans, have been invaded by American marines more than 200 times, and every single time it hasn't been to defend the people and democracy but to support right wing corrupted officials and capitalists. Take Chile for example, it was American dollars and American advisors which help orchestrating the criminal and totally anti-democratic coupe d'etat of 1973...
Eduardo Galeano is an excellent writer, and he has dedicated most of his life to put his writing at our service, so that we understand how we ended up in such mess and poverty having one of the richest continents on Earth.