Open Veins of Latin America
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Open Veins of Latin America

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4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  4,697 ratings  ·  356 reviews
A wide-ranging historical account of the social, political, and particularly economic development of a continent seemingly ravaged by the unbridled exploitation of major capitalist countries bent on turning Latin American resources into their own economic gain. Bibliogs.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 1st 1973 by Monthly Review Press (NY/London) (first published 1970)
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Allen B. Lloyd
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 gouty noise machine of the bourgeoisie began to flap its collective jowls, calling the gift an insult to America, and Obama's acceptance of it a sign of his acquiescence to communist influences. The truths contained in the gift were essentially ignored by the right-wind punditry, because truth and history have no place in...more
Susan
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 affiliates.
It’s ce...more
Cy
The best Latin American history book on earth! "The most heartening response came not from the book pages in the press but from real incidents in the streets. The girl who was quietly reading Open Veins to her companion in a bus in Bogotá, and finally stood up and read it aloud to all the passengers. The woman who fled from Santiago in the days of the Chilean bloodbath with this book wrapped inside her baby’s diapers. The student who went from one bookstore to another for a week in Buenos Aires’...more
Miquixote
One of the best books ever written for a general audience...period. This guy writes fiction likes it's non-fiction and non-fiction likes it's fiction. He blends in and out better than anyone I know of. What beauty, what poetry, what defiance, what anger, what celebration, what satire, what humour. Sheer brilliance. Oh, and he does his research too.

Recommended related readings: Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Exterminate All the Brutes, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, The Wretched of the Eart...more
Tucker
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 quite 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 st...more
Gabriela Mejia
Mr. Galeano has a unique gift for writing about historical events in Latin America. I have read it so many times that I might need to buy a new copy just because the book is so worn!!
I see how some might not appreciate his brutal honestly and his decision to point a finger directly at those who raped the lands of Latin America and took with them the precious resources to fuel their wars and greed. At the same time, those resources were flushed out of our continent with the blood of the indigenou...more
El Avestruz Liado
An indispensable, albeit controversial, book to understand Latin America. A work of impressive scope, essentially the history of a whole continent. Just not to confuse anyone about the ideological orientation of the author, the book is printed (at least in my edition) with a nice red cover.

Now, jokes aside, some parts of the book are written in a rather loud tone which many will consider is borderline on propaganda but let me suggest to the adventurous reader to just ignore that and delve into...more
Víctor
Cuando era niño le pregunté a mis padres por qué México era más pobre que los Estados Unidos. Me explicaron que el calor hacía a la gente más perezosa y que en Europa y Estados Unidos, la gente es más trabajadora, logrando un mejor nivel de vida después de varias generaciones.

Mucho tiempo después, después de mucha indoctrinación, llegué a creer que lo que requeríamos era un golpe de estado al estilo chileno, para avanzar como sociedad.

Luego me percaté que todas esas respuestas eran simplemente n...more
Amr Fahmy
من أفضل الكتب التي قرأتها في حياتي على الإطلاق.. مزج عبقري بين التاريخ والصحافة والأدب والسياسة والاقتصاد. يمكنني القول إن هذا الكتاب هو بوابة أمريكا اللاتينية لمن يجهلها.. للأسف لم أعثر على الترجمة العربية لأستاذنا أحمد حسان.. وبالتالي اضطررت للقراءة باللغة الأصلية واستلزم ذلك مني وقتا أطول كي أنهي هذا الكتاب.. أرشحه بقوة لكل الأصدقاء بعيدا عن تقديمه كهدية من قبل شافيز لأوباما.
Mauricio
Este libro es lectura obligatoria para cualquier latinoamericano. Narra de una forma muy interesante la historia de nuestros países, escencial para entender porqué Latinoamérica nació pobre y sigue siendo pobre. Me gustó más la primera mitad del libro; la segunda es un poco pesada y la cantidad de datos es abrumadora.
Dianne
When Hugo Chavez recently handed this book to Obama, I decided I'd better take a look. The 1997 edition, handily on the shelf in my library, includes a beautifully written foreword by Isabel Allende. This book (plus ODES by Pablo Neruda) were the two books Allende took with her when evacuating Chile after the 1973 coup. I'm learning much about the oppression, colonization, and economic exploitation of Latin America, and feeling fairly stunned that I never knew about this 1973 book.
Francisco Viliesid
Del libro: p.294, "La ayuda funciona como el filántropo del cuento, que le había puesto una pata de palo a su chanchito, pero era porque se lo estaba comiendo de a poco". Otra: p. 295, "La caridad internacional no existe; empieza por casa, también para los Estado Unidos. La ayuda externa desempeña, en primer lugar, una función interna: la economía norteamericana se ayuda a sí misma". Otra más: p.337, "Ya Bolívar había afirmado, certera profecía, que los Estados Unidos parecían destinados por la...more
Jaber
عدد الكتب التي تنتجها البشرية في كل عام خرافي جدا ، لكنها قليلة تلك الكتب التي وبمجرد ان تقلب صفحاتها الأولى ستعرف بسهولة أنك امام عمل عظيم ، بل امام عمل سيغيّر لك حياتك .
الشرايين المفتوحة لامريكا اللاتينية ، اكثر من مجرد كتاب ، وهذا الكلام ليس من باب إطلاق النعوت الفارغ من المضمون ، فهذا الكتاب يصلح أن يكون مانفستو للتغيير وللثورة ، وهو بحق تاريخ مضاد .
"ينتج شعب البيرو دقيق سمك ، غنيا جدا بالبروتينات ، من اجل أبقار الولايات المتحدة وأوروبا ، لكن البروتينات غائبة عن موائد أغلب البيروفيين ، فيم...more
Todd
Galeano is a Uruguayan journalist/writer who has written a magesterial three-volume expansion on this book since it was published in 1970. It is really a jarring read, especially if you're not familiar with how badly Latin America has been exploited by first Spain and Portugal, then the British Empire, and then the United States. Galeano is particularly critical of the imperial forces beyond the shores of Latin American that have bled it dry for 500 years, but he's also sharply critical of the "...more
Fabiola
La única razón por la que le doy 4 estrellas es porque tuve que leerlo en dos semanas para una clase, y no es un libro que se lee en dos semanas, te agobia demasiado y tienes la sensación que si el libro no se acaba tú vas a ser el que termina con las venas abiertas, sin embargo es el trabajo mejor documentado sobre el desarrollo de América Latina que he encontrado, además está contado de una manera muy amena.
Este libro está para contestar la pregunta ¿Por qué Latinoamérica está como está? Y mos...more
Rob Prince
I know, I know, this is the book that Chavez gave to Obama. Let us hope that the US president actually reads it and digests its content. Interestingly enough, I used this in a class I taught this past spring. The fact that Chavez offered to book to Obama greatly the likelihood that my students actually read it. Actually they had to as it was the subject matter of the mid term. I still think this is one of the best introductions to what in the `old days' we used to generally called U.S. Imperiali...more
Morgan (Turbo)
The Opening chapters of this book are fascinating! It goes into much detail of the exploitation and enslavement of the indigenous peoples of south and central America. Most of the history is new to me. One fact that still stays with me is that the shipments of gold and goods coming into Spain and Portugal, from their respective conquests, were actually shipped right back out to other countries because of their substantial national debts.

On the other hand, the following chapters a bit boring. I...more
Andrés Ponce de león Huerta
un libro que todo latinoamericano debe de leer.
Edward Rathke
This is a powerful and important book. A thorough analysis of imperialism and colonialism in Latin America. He traces their history, not by region or chronology, but by the ways Latin America was bled dry by the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English, and, finally and currently, the USA.

Galeano traces the influence of the natural resources that Latin America was blessed with, only to find this blessing their greatest curse and the source of these 500 years of exploitation. Gold, silver, cacao, cot...more
Miriam
encontré este libro en la biblioteca de mi universidad, no estaba en la sección de historia, ni en la de problemas socioeconómicos, tampoco estaba en la de periodismo, estaba perdido entre la sección donde ponen ensayos sobre sustentabilidad y trabajo comunitario.
Re-leo partes de este libro cuando necesito inspirarme para hacer algún trabajo, la forma en que describe la historia es tan fluida que casi puedo imaginármela que pasa frente a mis ojos. En México cuando enseñan la historia hacen que m...more
Jon-Erik
There are two errors I find that permeate anti-imperialist literature. First is the alienation of the United States from Latin America, its presentation as the actor, the agent. Second is the mystery of the diabolical gringissimo who seems to proceed through some phantom process of a translatio imperii from Alexander to Caesar to Columbus to Queen Elizabeth to President Roosevelt. These two fallacies are interconnected. Unfortunately, they are the foundation of this otherwise excellent work.

To e...more
Samantha
I'm so excited to read this this summer!
Eduardo, I feel that I've learned so much from you, in looking at my indigenous, colonial, and modernized Latina roots and about general world history.
REAL HIS-HER-STORY that made me as a reader really care for the stories, the anonymous figures (strategically made anonymous through omission and ignorance) and peoples and civilizations, cultures that were so obviously betrayed and exploited; whose soil others now comfortable, ignorantly smugly live upon w...more
Deodand
This book is really about the world. Galeano doesn't miss anyone with his tar brush, rightfully so. If you've ever given any thought to the concept of Fair Trade you should probably read this book instead of just buying your Fair Trade cup o' joe at the local.

I didn't give this book more stars because Galeano jumps around quite a bit and the book is in need of more coherence. It might've been a smoother read if it had followed a time-line instead of proceeding in a looser form. It's also a book...more
nicebutnubbly
My love for Galeano cannot be textually rendered. He's a deeply radical man who writes beautiful books, and The Memoria del Fuego series is not what I think of as "history" - it's not dry, it's not footnoted, it's not strictly factual, but my god, is it compelling. This is exactly what it says in the title, and it's gorgeous.
Robertisenberg
I always like to brag that my high school required me to read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States," plus an assortment of other critical history texts. This is the kind of material that sticks with you for the rest of your life. A friend of mine from Mexico recently said that all Latin American literature is essentially about suffering. "Open Veins" is like a crash-course in that singular theme.

Which is why the book took me nearly a year to read. Unlike Galeano's more creative...more
Luis
Un excelente libro! De mis favoritos. Creo que es lectura obligada para los latinoamericanos. Redacción impecable, narrativa fluida y sobre todo documentación impresionante.
Anette
this is galeano at his best. a must-read. especially for anyone going to latin america.
James Klagge
A history of (the exploitation of) Latin America since the arrival of Europeans. The book was researched and written in the 1960s. So much has happened since then (such as Iran-Contra and our suppression of the revolution in Nicaragua; or NAFTA), but none of the events would change the story. It is a very long, sad, tragic story. Free trade comes only once restricted trade has allowed a country (the US, UK) to develop its own industries sufficiently to benefit from free trade. Then smaller count...more
Patrick
Found this on my sister-in-law's bookshelf and haven't been able to put it down in my spare time. Sorry, JL Bourne, but the zombie apocalypse will have to wait.
--
This book is effectively a three-hundred page list of crimes against the natives and the underclasses of the countries south of the Rio Grande and in the Caribbean. I was expecting a history book on Latin America and while there is quite a bit of history here, it is more a list of complaints against the economic policies of Europe and...more
Morgan (Turbo)
This book would be better in English. I would be able to get it more. I still need a little help with Spanish so this was a good effort. There were many words I still didn't know or had to brush up on so I made a "Found Poem". A Found Poem is where you take the work and rearrange it and give new meaning to the text. I took it one step further and translated it from the Spanish. Each line has one word that I didn't "get" in Spanish. It is called "A Story of Pillaging" and I hope you like it:

A Sto...more
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gift 1 38 Apr 28, 2009 09:14AM  
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Eduardo Galeano is a Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist. His best known works are Memoria del fuego (Memory of Fire Trilogy, 1986) and Las venas abiertas de América Latina (Open Veins of Latin America, 1971) which have been translated into twenty languages and transcend orthodox genres: combining fiction, journalism, political analysis, and history.

The author himself has proclaimed his obs...more
More about Eduardo Galeano...
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“The Nobodies

Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping
poverty: that one magical day good luck will suddenly rain down on
them---will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn't rain down
yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever. Good luck doesn't even fall in a
fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their
left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right
foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms.

The nobodies: nobody's children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the
no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life,
screwed every which way.

Who are not, but could be.
Who don't speak languages, but dialects.
Who don't have religions, but superstitions.
Who don't create art, but handicrafts.
Who don't have culture, but folklore.
Who are not human beings, but human resources.
Who do not have faces, but arms.
Who do not have names, but numbers.
Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police
blotter of the local paper.
The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.”
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“El subdesarrollo no es una etapa del desarrollo. Es su consecuencia.” 17 likes
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