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Open Veins of Latin America

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,202 Ratings  ·  522 Reviews
s/t: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent
"A superbly written, excellently translated, and powerfully persuasive exposé which all students of Latin American and U.S. history must read."

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

"A dazzling barrage of words and ideas."

Paperback, 317 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Serpent's Tail (first published 1971)
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Allen B. Lloyd
Aug 27, 2013 Allen B. Lloyd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 31, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 26, 2013 Víctor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Nov 08, 2013 Jaber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 10, 2009 Tucker rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 21, 2012 Mauricio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 23, 2011 G RdM rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
El Avestruz Liado
Apr 21, 2013 El Avestruz Liado rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Amr Fahmy
Oct 12, 2012 Amr Fahmy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Adrián Sánchez
Me tomó más tiempo del que pensé en leer el libro porque tuve que consultar artículos de muchos de los eventos históricos que describen aquí lo que me pareció en cierto modo entretenido, el ensayo me parece interesante cuando narra los hechos que sucedieron a partir de la explotación colona en Ámerica luego se convierte en una crítica más agresiva a los problemas socioeconómicos que ocurren en latinoamerica, que según Galeano, todos por culpa de los intereses Gringos e Ingleses, aunque no critic ...more
Jul 27, 2009 Dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nicolás Rivas
Aug 19, 2015 Nicolás Rivas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este es el libro más triste que he leído en mi vida. Galeano no da respiro y muestra desnudos cada uno de los mil cachos demoniacos del ser humano. Cuán lejos llega la avaricia y el abuso de poder, como para mutilar a un continente entero por cientos de años. Aún vivimos en la selva, ahora escondida entre los grandes números, donde no hay piedad ni arrepentimiento. No se muestra escapatoria ni camino alguno, sólo queda llorar resignado.
Andrés Ponce de león Huerta
un libro que todo latinoamericano debe de leer.
John Gurney
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 more like historic fiction. On pg. 283, author Galeano cited Chilean dictator Pinochet leaving “30,000 dead”, which didn’t ring true to my memory. A quick check of Wikipedia shows “various reports and investigations claim that between 1,200 and 3,200 ...more
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
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
Oct 27, 2012 Isotilia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historia
In Brazil, this book is very controversial. It was never forbidden and it influenced all academic students from 1970's. When I went to school (1990's), all History books were based in this book. And all history/geograhy teachers constantly talked about this book. US, developped countries and big companies were the responsible for Latin American poverty. It was what I call the 'left wave' of Brazil.
Now the situation changed. We have Brazilian companies on other countries, including USA (but the
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
Jan 28, 2013 Fabiola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
No es una revision desapasionada de algunos episodios de la historia latinoamericana de los ultimos 500 anios. Es mas bien un libro medianamente visceral, escrito con las tripas. El mio no es ni un halago ni una critica, sino una descripcion.

Como puntos positivos, el autor presenta una mirada diferente al desarrollo economico (o la falta de el) de America Latina. Es, sin duda, positivo escuchar voces que se desvian de mi propia percepcion (por lo menos con algunos hechos puntuales). Refresca en
Mai Alshareef
Apr 10, 2016 Mai Alshareef rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
الكتاب أرعبني بتفاصيله الدقيقة عن الاستعمار الاسباني و البرتغالي لامريكا الجنوبية٫ و الحق يقال دائما أتحدث عن حقارة المستعمرين في افريقيا و لم يتبادر في ذهني عن فداحة المستعمر الأبيض حتى في امريكا اللاتينية٫ تبين لي من هذا الكتاب الرائع عن استغلال اسبانيا و البرتغال للمعادن و التربة الخصبة في امريكا الاتينية حيث لم يكتفي المستعمر بقتل السكان الأصليين لتلك الاراضي و لكن تم استغلالهم كعبيد لهم و العمل في أراضيهم ٫ و من ثم انتقلت تلك القارة ٌإلى آراضي تم السيطرة عليها من قبل اغنياء انجلترا فتحولو إ ...more
Rob Prince
Jun 30, 2009 Rob Prince rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 13, 2016 Iris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En un principio el autor da un resumen de lo que ocurrió en los países Latinoamericanos durante la colonización. Lo más probable es que la mayoría ya este enterado de esta parte de la historia, pero no esta de más recordarlo.

Después Galeano comienza a contar lo que sucedió a continuación, recolectado información y cifras, toda la explotación y la esclavitud que sufrieron los países latinos a lo largo de los años. Que esto realmente nunca se detuvo, y aún actualmente no ha parado.

"Para quienes c
Jul 02, 2012 Ivana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to write this in English, in hope that everyone will pick up this book (which has been translated into many languages) and read it. No, this isn't just a book about Latin America. This is a book about the world, our world, and how it came to be. You don't live in Latin America? You don't speak Spanish? In fact, you live in, say, Iceland? Doesn't matter- you will find a link between what Galeano writes, and you. You are a product, or better stated- a victim, of what he postulates in this b ...more
Edward Rathke
Aug 01, 2011 Edward Rathke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 02, 2012 Miriam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 29, 2011 Nilesh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book is too vitriolic to be of any factual or historic use. An utter lack of balance in any argument makes it laughable at times - almost any action that can be ascribed to European or Western countries were brandished evil and any evil actions or bad outcomes were linked to these powers. As a result, the book is riddled with inherent contradictions and needless diatribe. Yes, it gives some idea on what drives the thinking and actions of leaders like Chavez, Castro etc but also shows why the ...more
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Eduardo Galeano was 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 ob
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.”
“Our defeat was always implicit in the victory of others; our wealth has always generated our poverty by nourishing the prosperity of others - the empires and their native overseers. In the colonial and neocolonial alchemy, gold changes into scrap metal and food into poison.” 34 likes
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