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Las venas abiertas de América Latina

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470 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1971

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About the author

Eduardo Galeano

198 books3,320 followers
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 obsession as a writer saying, "I'm a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America above all and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia."

He has received the International Human Rights Award by Global Exchange (2006) and the Stig Dagerman Prize (2010).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,779 reviews
15 reviews23 followers
January 9, 2021
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 the circus of sound bite chicanery, not when the mainstream media is little more than a clown car of corporate maleficence, whose acquiescence 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 work.

Originally published in the early 70s, Open Veins of Latin America is an eloquently written, vivid examination of five centuries of genocide, 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 gravitas to the irrefutable evidence he presents, a thing the noise machine cannot abide. They fear his eloquence, 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 and greed inherent in international corporatism, past and present.

Profile Image for Víctor.
122 reviews40 followers
May 26, 2013
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 negación y auto-engaño. Eran el resultado de años de propaganda oficial dentro de la clase media-alta mexicana, que finalmente se destilaba aún entre los que participaron en los movimientos juveniles de finales de los sesenta y principios de los setenta.

Y es precisamente durante este periodo que Eduardo Galeano escribió uno de sus libros insignia: Las venas abiertas de América Latina. Libro que fue prohibido, censurado, ignorado en gran parte de Latinoamérica. Basta decir que yo no conocí el libro sino hasta que me mudé a España.

Galeano reúne vasta evidencia documental sobre la hipótesis de una América explotada y exhibe dicha evidencia de manera brutal, sin fisuras aparentes.

La hipótesis principal gira alrededor de que América Latina, desde la conquista española, ha sido, es y será una colonia de las grandes potencias extranjeras. Primero lo fue la Corona Española; una vez consumadas su respectivas independencias, pasaron a ser colonias no-declaradas del Imperio Británico, y finalmente, somos el patio trasero de los Estados Unidos.

Como colonias, todos los latinoamericanos somos ciudadanos de segunda categoría, sin derecho a decidir qué hacer con nuestros recursos naturales, a aceptar empréstitos forzados para afincar una industria y banca extranjera, que se llevarán las ganancias de vuelta a Europa y Estados Unidos, dejando a su paso deuda insaldable y mano de obra exhausta.

En un inicio, las materias primas y su extracción, eran el principal objetivo de las potencias colonizadoras; agotadas éstas, tocó el turno a la mano de obra barata, sin especialización y sumisa. Y ahora, cada vez que una transnacional instala una fábrica de manufactura en nuestro territorio, debemos congratularnos y decir que el gobierno está haciendo bien las cosas.

¿Cómo puede ser un país próspero, si no se tiene control de sus propios recursos, si no se respeta su mercado interno ni a su población?
Profile Image for Susan.
397 reviews94 followers
March 31, 2010
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 certainly been a controversial book. First published in 1971 and often condemned and frequently 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 gave a copy to Obama and then when commentators speculated on whether or not he would read it. Actually, I hope he did. (http://www.time.com/time/arts/article...)

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 piqued 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 impressed.

Galeano’s thesis is that the first the European conquerors (Spain and Portugal), later European business interests—mainly the British—and finally the US (government 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 conquistadors arriving in Latin American with the expectation of taking riches home to Europe with settlers in New England fleeing Europe and determined to 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 no gold 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 it leads to a ruling class that appropriates the resources and uses them to develop the country (or to line their own pockets) rather than depending on the population to supply funds for the 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 result was the development of a growing middle class of local producers 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 grew up to serve the Europeans and later North Americans who needed to ship the gold, the silver, the meat, the rubber, the bananas or whatever.

It’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 governments 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 quite definitely not lacking. I tend to compare him to Michael Moore, who goes 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.
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,301 reviews22k followers
July 16, 2021
I was talking with a friend last week and she mentioned Shashi Tharoor and I said ‘oh, I’ve read a book of his…’ Now, the thing it is useful to know about me – or not, depending on so many things – is that whatever part of the brain evolution decided to set aside for the storage and retrieval of names seems to have been left out of my brain. The fact I remembered this man’s name was truly remarkable (although, I admit there was a bit of guessing going on too), what was less remarkable was that I’d completely forgotten the title of the book. I said to her, ‘it was called something like, How Britain Ruins Everything, something like that.’ It is actually called, ‘Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India’ – so as you can see, I was very nearly right.

Before the US empire, there was the British Empire. This book is a bit about both, but mostly about the US empire, or at least, that part of the US empire that it likes to think of as its ‘backyard’. It is an interesting metaphor, the backyard. You know, you probably would not swim naked in your own front yard. You probably wouldn’t kick one of your kids in the bum in your front yard either. And if you had a body to bury, I figure you would be more likely to bury it in your backyard too, rather than in your front yard. All of which is relevant to how the US behaves in the non-English speaking parts of the Americas.

This book is something of a long catalogue of crimes, many of which are crimes against humanity, that have been either committed, planned, supported or just ignored by the US, almost invariably in support of US commercial interests. It starts with an introduction by Isabel Allende, in which she makes clear that Cuba meant it would be inevitable there would be a coup in Chile, just as the extremity of the revenge taken against the left in Chile was also inevitable. The people of Cuba should be under no illusions, if the US does overthrow the government in Cuba blood will flow in rivers down the streets, the nation will be torn apart, and most likely be reduced to rubble. If you possibly can avoid it, you should do what you can not to be Black. On the theory that Imperialists and tyrants invariably accuse others of what they are planning to do themselves, the current focus upon the crimes of China we witness nightly on our television screens are, if nothing else, instructive.

I have developed an incredibly low opinion of economists and their explanations of why certain nations develop and others do not. The general theory concerning Latin America and why it has not developed is that it does not have the initial seeding capital necessary to support economic development. The cruelty of this ‘explanation’ is so extreme that it is a wonder anyone could say it with a straight face. As the author makes all too clear, Latin America has been pillaged by the west for five centuries. It has been sucked dry of its mineral wealth, its peoples have been enslaved, starved, and murdered. It is clear that Europe and the United States have used Latin America as, well, a long-suffering corpse with veins opened wide so they, vampire-like, can suck it dry.

Marx explained that capitalism could not have gotten started unless there was a ‘primitive accumulation of capital’. By this he meant that while capitalism itself accumulates and multiplies capital by extracting surplus value, to get this process started it requires initial capital to be. This initial theft of capital is called primitive accumulation. Whether this was in the fencing of the commons or in the stealing of gold from the Inca, it was an appropriation of wealth more akin to theft than anything else.

This theft, however, has never stopped in Latin America. The implication that the primitive accumulation is something that occurred at the dawn of capitalism and was then overtaken by the production of surplus value is proven wrong in this book. Here the entire American continent south of the Rio Grande has been bled white. Any attempt to take control of its own national wealth – whether derived from bananas and coffee or petroleum, bauxite, or any of the other rare earth metals simply not available within the US – has been met with punishments worthy in their inventiveness and cruelty of devils in hell.

This book takes you on a tour of this history of the nations of Latin America, and while many of the themes are shockingly consistent, each nation has its own special twist of horror. The most shocking of which are perhaps the tales of the Bolivian workers who ‘left their lungs in the Oruro mines’, but what is done to the people is also done to the land, laid waste under sugar plantations. People are treated worse than animals, like the Peruvians producing fishmeal to provide protein for US cows, but who have barely any protein in their own diets.

You can’t come away from this book uplifted – but it exquisitely beautifully written. As he says at the end, too much academic writing is designed to exclude the average reader. This book is certainly not one of those. It never talks down, it is a work of deep love. You should read this book.
Profile Image for BlackOxford.
1,085 reviews68.4k followers
March 20, 2022
The Veins Flow With People Now

All the stately homes, the baroque palaces, the post roads, the standing military and naval forces, the banking institutions, and advanced educational establishments of Europe (and, arguably therefore, the Industrial Revolution) are built on the same foundations: sugar from the Caribbean, silver from Bolivia and Mexico, gold and diamonds from Nicaragua and Brazil. These in turn are the product of the enslavement of the native Indian populations of Central and South America, and, as the local inhabitants were exterminated, the importation of millions of Africans to maintain and expand production. The legacy of this boom in European fortunes is depleted and poisoned soil, enormous differences in economic status, profound lack of social cohesion, and a continued vulnerability to exploitation.

The Spanish-American War - with its annexation of Puerto Rico and occupation of Cuba - allowed a new mechanism and new actors in Latin American exploitation at the turn of the 20th century. Strategy shifted from the use of individual commercial buccaneers who were permitted by the sovereign to use any means necessary to keep the booty flowing, to corporate enterprise with the direct support of military and other government resources. So following on its success in the Caribbean, it tested the strategy again in Mexico. The United States twice sent troops to impede the Zapata-land reforms, arranged the assassination of the President, and occupied Vera Cruz in order to ease concerns of American investors in Mexican mines and railroads.

This set a pattern for subsequent armed assertion of power in Colombia, Haiti, Honduras, Panama, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Subsequent proxy interventions and ‘regime changes’ through covert de-stabilisation became the preferred approach from the 1950’s on, in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Chile, and Argentina and Brazil. It is accurate to say that there are few countries in Latin America in which the US government has not sought to overthrow democratically elected regimes, replacing them with military juntas or right-wing dictators favourable to US investment.

Such actions have only nominally been about ideology (Capitalism vs. Communism) or the threat of foreign intervention in Latin America (the Soviet Union or China).* But the interests of United Fruit, National Sugar, and Kennecott Copper or AT&T, for example, were always apparent to those involved. The connection between intervention and business interests has been clear throughout the 20th century. Galeano quotes the 1935 testimony of General Smedley D. Butler, who headed many of the expeditions, and who at the time of his death was the most decorated serving Marine in history. Smedley testified:

“I spent thirty-three years and four months in active service as a member of our country’s most agile military force—the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from a second lieutenant to major-general. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.… Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank to collect revenues in. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras ‘right’ for American fruit companies in 1903”

Corporations don’t build stately homes; they build skyscrapers and office campuses. And they build these no longer on sugar or coffee but on the materials essential in a high-tech society. Chile, Argentina and Bolivia sit on two thirds of the world’s lithium. Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and Mexico have half the world’s un-mined silver. A third of the world’s tin is still in the ground in Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia. Venezuela has something like a quarter of OPEC’S reserves and controls the world’s largest proven pool of oil. Bauxite, nickel, and iron have similar concentrations in Latin America. The United States will undoubtedly do what it can to preserve its dominance over these resources. Capital will continue to flow North while misery continues to flow South. Little mystery, therefore, about why much of the population wants to follow the capital.

* I can’t avoid including one or two of the numerous illustrations of the behaviour of the United States that are probably unfamiliar to its population:

“… the United States occupied Haiti for twenty years [1915-1934] and, in that black country that had been the scene of the first victorious slave revolt, introduced racial segregation and forced labor, killed 1,500 workers in one of its repressive operations (according to a U.S. Senate investigation in 1922), and when the local government refused to turn the Banco Nacional into a branch of New York’s National City Bank, suspended the salaries of the president and his ministers so that they might think again.”

“In a fine report on his visit [in 1910], [a socialist journalist,] John Kenneth Turner wrote that ‘the United States has virtually reduced Diaz [the Mexican president] to a political dependency, and by so doing has virtually transformed Mexico into a slave colony of the United States.’ U.S. capital made juicy profits directly or indirectly from its association with the dictatorship. ‘The Americanization of Mexico of which Wall Street boasts,’ wrote Turner, ‘is being accomplished and accomplished with a vengeance’.”

“In 1965 another sugar country, the Dominican Republic, was invaded, this time—according to their commander, General Bruce Palmer—by 40,000 U.S. Marines ready ‘to stay indefinitely in this country in view of the reigning confusion.’ The vertical drop in sugar prices had been a factor in setting off popular indignation; the people rose against the military dictatorship and U.S. troops arrived promptly to restore order… After the invasion, President Lyndon Johnson’s special envoy to the Dominican Republic was Ellsworth Bunker, the chairman of the National Sugar Refining Company”
Profile Image for Mohammed.
446 reviews582 followers
June 9, 2023
.استقصد شافيز إهداء هذا الكتاب لأوباما والتصوير كما يرفع الصبي المشاكس أصبعين خلف رأس صديقه في الصور.


لم يكن شافيز وحده من احتفى بهذا الكتاب، بل كان له صدى واسع بين أوساط شعوب أمريكا اللاتينية. هناك الشاب الذي تجول بين المكتبات والأكشاك ليقرأ مقطعَا منه في كل مرة حيث أنه لا يملك ثمنه. هناك الفتاة التي أخذت تقرأ منه اقتباسات في الحافلات العامة ليسمع الجميع، ولا ننسى كاتبة مقدمة هذا الكتاب: الجميلة إيزابيل الليندي التي اختارت هذا الكتاب كأحد المقتنيات القليلة التي فرت بها إلى الولايات المتحدة بعد الانقلاب العسكري في تشيلي.

شرايين أمريكا الجنوبية تتدفق فيها الثروات من ذهب وفضة ونفط وقهوة وكاكاو. هذا إلى جانب الثروة البشرية التي تشكل قوة عاملة رخيصة بل ومجانية في بعض الأحيان. للأسف كل هذه الشرايين لا تغذي الجسد الذي يحملها بل تغذي كائنات تمتصها دون توقف وبلا هوادة.

تقرأ هذا الكتاب فتعرف لم قام الكثيرون بتبني الشعارات الشيوعية بحماسة، ستتفهم كثيرًا كل من تعصب ضد الإمبريالية وجنّد حياته لمقاومتها. ستعرف الكثير عن ألوان جلد المستعمر الذي يغيرها في كل مرة يريد أن يرتشف مواردك الطبيعية دون أن ننتبه أو رغماً عن أنفك.

ظهر الاستعمار على شواطئ أمريكا اللاتينية يحمل الهدايا التي تخفي البنادق، حوّل الأهالي إلى عبيد ونهب من الذهب أطنانا أنعشت اقتصاد أوروبا لعقود. العجيب أن أسبانيا لم تستفد من كل الكنوز التي هربتها بل كانت تدفع بها للدول الأوروبية الأخرى التي تزدهر بها الصناعة وتحتكر التوريد. والأعجب من ذلك أن الثروات استُنفدت لدرجة أن هناك مدنًا أصبحت مهجورة بعد أن فرغت بطون مناجمها.

استمر الفارس المستعمر في صولاته على صهوة الحكومات الفاسدة. تلك التي تهبه حقوق التنقيب دون ثمن وتسخّر له مايشاء من عمّال بالأجور التي يحددها وبساعات العمل التي يمليها. وإذا جاءت حكومة بضمير متيقظ نوعا ما وفكرت مجرد تفكير أن تستقل بذاتها، فهناك عصا الإنقلابات العسكرية، نفس القصة تتكرر في كل مرة، أنهار من الدماء وقتلى من المواطنين في كل جانب ثم يتم تتويج أحد الجنرالات الذي يستخدم السوط مع مواطنيه وُيهدي كل الجَزر للمستعمر.

لم ولن تتوقف ألاعيب العالم المتقدم، هناك البنوك التي تهب القروض بشروطها الخاصة جدا وتعمل كل مابوسعها لتضخيم العملة. هناك أيضاً تشكيلة من المنظمات التي لا تعرف سوى الاتفاقيات التي تضمن انسحاب المواد الخام من الدول الفقيرة بأرخص الأثمان ليتم تصنيعها في الدول الغنية ومن ثم بيعها بأسعار منافسة، ومن المحتمل أن يكون المشتري هو صاحب المادة الخام نفسه.

في النهاية لا بد أن تشكر هذا "الجنتلمان" الذي أولى أرضك وبني قومك كل هذا الاهتمام. فهو ما جاء إلى بلادك إلا كي يخرج أهلها من الظلمات إلى النور، أو ليصنع صناديق الاقتراع، أو يهبك معونات مالية دون مقابل أو يقيم مشاريع تعود بالنفع على عموم البشرية.

ذكرني محتوى الكتاب ببعض ماورد في عقيدة الصدمة حيث يتم فضح الاقتصاد النيولبرالي الذي يخفي الكثير خلف ابتسامته وربطة عنقه الأنيقة. لا شك أن الكتاب مُر ويسبب الكثير من الاكتئاب والإحباط، فليس واقعنا عن واقع أمريكا اللاتينية ببعيد، وليس ثمة بصيص من النور في آخر النفق. ولكن للمعرفة ثمن لابد من دفعه، وفتح العينيّن خير من إطباق الجفنين بينما يتعرض جيبك للنشل.

بالرغم من لغة الكتاب بسيطة ولا تعجّ بالتعقيدات الاقتصادية، إلا أنني افتقدت روح غاليانو التي لمستها في "مرايا ما يشبه تاريخ العالم"، اللغة صحفية أكثر منها أدبية، مع القليل جداً من القصص الإنسانية والعبارات البليغة التي تميز غاليانو. أخيرًا يتبادر إلى ذهني نفس السؤال في كل مرة: ترى هل النخبة السياسية في بلداننا النامية تقرأ؟
Profile Image for John Gurney.
194 reviews17 followers
February 23, 2015
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 people were killed”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusto_... That is Galeano’s Open Veins in a nutshell: taking various misfortunes and admitted outrages and then, massively exaggerating them.

How does one rate a book like this, which suffers from even a rudimentary understanding of economics (e.g. 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 lyrical 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 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. Galeano gives 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 1.5 stars.

Galeano 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 question, the Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, and English mistreated the native peoples and African slaves. The greatest value of Open Veins is in the early pages, which hold nothing back when vividly describing Spanish enslavement of Indians to work in the gold and silver mines and to work the haciendas. The Spanish didn’t bring wives and took Indian women, at gunpoint if needed. Galeano fails to see the connection between early Spanish rule and the present, but other, more 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 critique. Galeano gleefully flies in the face of mainstream economics with strident advocacy of protectionism. He is practically the last person alive to think communism was a rousing success in Cuba. The book suffers from a rudimentary understanding of economics. I found the frequent Marx and Lenin quotes 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, great 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 Amazon, Mexico, the Panama Canal, Walker in Nicaragua, and the like. In so many cases, there is a kernel of truth to European/American heavy handedness, but Galeano is like a steam-roller, using outlandish, emotional statements (e.g. seemingly voluntary economic transactions are actually “plunder”, “devastation”, and “slavery”). There is absolutely nothing here about, say, Western medicine conquering malaria. Yankee “godless technology" built a leisure class of a fortunate few in Lima, Caracas, Buenos Aires, etc.

Galeano’s cluelessness shows through with statements like, of the Argentine capitalists, “productivity is low because it suits them; the law of profit prevails over all overs.” Actually, higher productivity drives higher profits; I doubt Argentinian capitalists want “low” productivity. Low productivity may exist, but not because of a devious plot. He actually writes of 20 American aid organizations bringing “birth control” to the Amazon not to help the people- no, but to depopulate it so American economic interests can conquer Amazonia. As I said at the outset, Open Veins is more like a novel than a serious history.

Given that Galeano’s “solutions” of socialism and protectionism have failed, what is better? He never even considers other developing nations, and even by 1980, a number of formerly colonized Asian nations were fast approaching developed world standards. Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and liberalizing China are illustrative. Even within Latin America, Chile, the nation which suffered the admitted human rights abuses of Pinochet, liberalized its economy under the “Chicago Boys” and has higher living standards today and is a functioning democracy.

A much better thinker about Latin America, and a more gifted novelist, too, is Mario Vargas Llosa, who ran for president of Peru. His Sables y Utopias is infinitely more nuanced than Open Veins, saying, “La globalizacion no es, por definicion, ni buena ni mala" ["globalization is neither good nor bad"], it is the result of many factors including technological and scientific advances, international business and capital flows, and interdependent world markets. (pg. 158). Vargas Llosa succinctly writes, “Obstaculos al desarrollo: nacionalismo, populismo, indigenismo, corrupcion.” [“Obstacles to development: nationalism, populism, indigenism, corruption.”]

Indeed, Latin America has been ill-served by its governments, often the legacy of colonial Spain and stillborn reforms of Juarez, Bolivar and well-meaning others. Latin America has had far too many right-wing dictators and military juntas; it also experienced Peronist and Cardenas-style Leftist populism. More recently we saw the failure of Chavez and Maduro in Venezuela, who incredibly, brought shortages and economic depression, during an era of record oil prices, to the nation holding the world’s largest oil reserves!

For decades, rafts floated one direction in the Florida Straight: away from Cuba. Galeano never says a word about Latin Americans living in the United States. Is there not a lesson in the economic success of America’s ~70 million Hispanics, who enjoy a higher standard of living than Hispanics anywhere in Latin America? Take a Mexican or Cuban or Colombian and put him in New York City or Miami and he tends to thrive. Same people, same culture, but a very different economic and political system. Vargas-Llosa thought Peru could learn from Asian Tigers: democratic capitalist engines like South Korea. I do not quibble for a moment about the horrors of early Spanish colonization. Yet, Latin America is not the only place that was colonized, even brutally, and dwelling on 500 years ago won’t improve today. Korea succeeded despite Japan's far more recent colonialization of that peninsula.

Latin America needs the rule of law. The mordida lives and breeds cynicism, allowing narco cartels and criminal gangs to thrive from Venezuela to Tijuana. Mexico needs to stop scaring its entrepreneurs into migrating to the United States; Mexican-Americans are about 25 times more likely to own their own business, at least a legally registered one, than their relatives back in Mexico. Latin America needs property rights (another Peruvian, Hernando de Soto has written interestingly about the virtual impossibility of poor squatters in taking out even the most modest loan, which helped lead to the current popularity of microloans in developing nations). Latin America needs better education and learning focused in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). The continent has produced many great novelists and muralists, but Latin America would benefit from its own Bill Gates, Michael Dells, Jeff Bezos, and Sergey Brins. It is telling that Latin America’s richest man, Carlos Slim, while a skillful businessman, succeeded in the shadowy world of Latin American telecomm privatizations. Latin America has a few notable colleges, but it cannot even begin to compare to United States R&D (e.g., Caltech, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and most any large land-grant university). India, by comparison, created an excellent STEM program in the campuses of its Indian Institute of Technology.

Galeano’s solutions to Latin American problems are Marxism and protectionism. Sadly, filling the continent with socialist strongmen like Hugo Chavez would lead to another 500 years of pain and backwardness in Latin America.
Profile Image for فهد الفهد.
Author 1 book4,833 followers
July 10, 2016
الشرايين المفتوحة لأمريكا اللاتينية

كتب غاليانو كتابه هذا في السبعينات، ليفضح من خلاله ما تعرضت وما تتعرض له القارة الأمريكية الجنوبية من احتلال واستغلال مستمرين، منذ الاكتشاف والاستيطان الأوروبي وحتى أزمنة الهيمنة الأمريكية، كيف يتم سحق شعوب المنطقة لرفاهية الإسبان والبرتغاليين، ومن ثم الإنجليز والأمريكان، الكتاب مهم جداً في كشف الحالة الاستعمارية المباشرة أو الخفية، ربما لهذا أهداه تشافيز لباراك أوباما عندما التقاه بعد انتخابه، مما جعل الكتاب يتصدر المبيعات لفترة.
Profile Image for Miquixote.
278 reviews37 followers
May 25, 2023
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.
Profile Image for Mauricio.
36 reviews4 followers
July 4, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Zanna.
676 reviews967 followers
February 7, 2017
This is an agonizingly lucid account of the of colonisation and depredation of a continent. Beginning with the continuing 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 US government, local dictators, the IMF and World Bank) are thoroughly indicted. 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 reading.
There 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 geuinely 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 guilty:, 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 more prosperous, although it enriches their poles of development; it does not ease social and regional tensions, but aggravates them; it spreads poverty even more widely and concentrates wealth even more 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.
Profile Image for Raya راية.
779 reviews1,386 followers
September 7, 2019
يرصد إدواردو غاليانو في هذا الكتاب تاريخ نهب أمريكا اللاتينية، نهب ثرواتها وخيراتها وكنوزها، إبادة شعوبها وقبائلها، استنزاف الأرض والإنسان.

شعور شديد بالقهر تملّكني وأنا اقرأ هذا الكتاب. ثورات أُخمدت، وأبطال تم تشويه صورهم وتحويلهم قطاعاً للطرق، وكل هذا بسبب وقوفهم في وجه قوى الاستعمار والرأسمالية. خيانات لا حصر لها. كرهت الولايات المتحدة أكثر مما كنت أكرهها لما اقترفته وما زالت تقترفه من نهب واستيلاء لثروات الشعوب باسم الديمقراطية والحرية وتحرير الأسواق. كرهت النظام الرأسمالي الاستغلالي أكثر. فكم شركة عابرة للقارات بُنيت على نهب أراض الشعوب، كم غابة أو مورد طبيعي اسُتنزف لتأسيسها، وكم رصيد بنكي لرجل أعمال شهير متخم بمليارات الدولارات أُنشئ من عرق الإنسان واستعباده؟!

أمريكا اللاتينية عانت كثيراً ونحن في بلداننا العربية لا نختلف عنهم بشيء. ماضٍ مؤلم وواقع أشد إيلاماً ولا أظن المستقبل سيكون مختلفاً ما لم نعي – كشعوب – حقيقة ما يدور حولنا.

نقطة أخيرة: من المؤسف والمعيب حقاً أن تكون ترجمة هذا الكتاب العظيم ركيكة وضعيفة بهذه الصورة، ومليئة بالأخطاء الإملائية والنحوية، وأسلوب صياغة رديء جداً، وكأن المترجم اعتمد على Google translate. أتمنى أن تتوفّر ترجمة حديثة ممتازة لهذا الكتاب قريباً.

الرئيس الفنزويلي هوغو تشافيز يقدم كتاب "الشرايين المفتوحة لأمريكا اللاتينية" إلى الرئيس الأمريكي باراك أوباما، مما جعل الكتاب يتصدر قوائم الكتب الأكثر مبيعاً في الولايات المتحدة في وقت قياسي.


أترككم مع مجموعة من الاقتباسات:


87 reviews77 followers
November 8, 2013
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 ، فيما يعمل فرع فولكس فاجن السويسري على زراعة شجرة مقابلة كل سيارة ينتجها يقوم الفرع البرازيلي للشركة بإحراق عشرات الهكتارات من الغابات في البرازيل "
هذا هو حال العالم ، الظلم والقهر لا زال مستمرا كما كان ، لكنه قد يغير قناعه بين الفينة والأخرى ، فصحيح " ان سفن العبيد لم تعد تنقل العبيد من أفريقيا ، لكن تجارة العبيد لا زالت مستمرة ، وهي تدار من قبل وزارة العمل الآن ، فالأجورأفريقية ، والأسعار أوروبية "
هذا الكتاب صدرت طبعته الأولى في نهاية العام 1970 والآن وبعد ثلاثة وأربعين عاما ما الذي تغيّر ؟ وهل تغيّر شيء أصلا بين الأيام الأولى " لفتح " كولومبوس للقارة التعيسة ، وبين الأيام التي تغزو فيها الشركات متعددة القوميات للقارة التعيسة ذاتها؟
ينطلق هذا الكتاب من عدة مقولات ساحاول تلخيصها في السطور التالية ما استطعت إلى ذلك سبيلا:
أولا : كلما حبت الطبيعة الأرض بمزيد من الثروات ، كلما منحها التاريخ لعنته
وهذا الكلام لا ينطبق فقط على أمريكا اللاتينية ، فأي ناظر للعالم العربي سيرى هذه الحقيقة صارخة ، وهل كان اكتشاف آبار النفط في الصحراء العربية إلّا لعنة على من شاءت الأقدار لهم هذه الورطة ؟
ثانيا : الاستقلال السياسي دون استقلال اقتصادي هو مجرد مزحة سمجة ، ما الفائدة من علم يرفرف على سارية من حديد ، إن كان العلم مستورداً والسارية مستوردةً وربما كلمات النشيد الوطني مستوردة أيضاً
ثالثا :كان " نشر الدين" هو الشماعة التي علق عليها ملكا اسبانيا طمعهم في أراض تنبت أشجارها الذهب ، هذا كان قبل خمسة قرون ، وهذه الحجةتم استبدالها في وقت تأليف الكتاب بمحاربة الشيوعية ، ويتم استبدالها اليوم بشماعة نشر الديمقراطية.
رابعا : يقول لينين : الإمبريالية هي أعلى مراحل الرأسمالية" هذا ما يقوله تاريخ أمريكا اللاتينية وهكذا يمكن أن نفهم جزءا لا بأس به من التاريخ.
خامسا : المستبد\ المحتل يخلق أشباهه ، وخمسمئة عام من القتل والقمع انجبا انظمة ديكتاتورية علاقتها بالشعب تماما كعلاقة المحتل بالمحتل . ولذا رأينا البرازيل والأرجواي والأرجنتين تغزو جارتهم وشريكتهم في الإضطهاد الباراجواي ، فقط من أجل كسر نموذج لا يراد له أن يعمم. حيث كانت الباراجواي في تلك الفترة تعتبر أفضل دول القارة من حيث الاستقلالية ، وكانت قد تمكنت من القضاء على الأمية بشكل حاسم ، لكن الشركات البريطانية لم يكن هذا ليروقها ، ولم يسرها الحماية التي تقوم بها الدولة الصغيرة لصناعاتها الناشئة .
هذا الكتاب :
الراحل هوغو تشافيز وخلال اجتماع ضم رؤساء أمريكا الجنوبية والرئيس الأمريكي باراك أوباما , قام الرئيس الفنزويلي بإهداء نسخة من كتاب الشرايين المفتوحة لأمريكا اللاتينية لأوباما , وبين ليلة وضحاها بات هذا الكتاب من الكتب الاكثر مبيعا في الولايات المتحدة بل وربما حول العالم ، مع العلم بأن الكتاب تم تأليفه في العام 1971.
القراء الأعزاء : لا أذكر أنني قرات كتابا في يوم من الأيام كان له هذه القدرة على تغييري ، هذا الكتاب كان حاسما بالنسبة لي على مستويين ، على المستوى العاطفي ، فكمية الغضب والكراهية والحقد التي يدفعك هذا الكتاب لتبنيها مرعبة ، وعلى المستوى الثقافي سيدفعني هذا الكتاب إلى ان أغير نمط القراءة الذي كنت أسير عليه وانويه منذ بداية العام .
التاريخ :
في قراءة التاريخ ودراسته عدة مشكلات من بينها ما قاله هيجل : الامر الوحيد الذي من الممكن لنا ان نتعلمه من التاريخ هو أن احدا لا يتعلم من التاريخ ، ويقول ماركس عندما يكرر التاريخ نفسه في المرّة الأولى تكون المأساة وفي المرّة الثانية تكون الملهاة .
وثاني مشاكل التاريخ هو انه عصي على الحفظ ،
ولكن المشكلة الأهم والأكثر تجذرا في " التاريخ " هي ان التاريخ يكتبه المنتصرون ، ولذا كان هذا الكتاب مختلفا ، لانه تاريخ يكتبه ضحيته ، تاريخ غاضب ناقم وهو أبعد ما يكون عن الموضوعية او "الحياد" البذيء .
كيف حلّت الرأسمالية تناقضاتها مع العمال في أوروبا؟ كيف نهضت أوروبا؟ هذا الكتاب سيخبرك كيف .
لو شئت ان أقبتس من هذاالكتاب فقرة واحدة لاخترت هذه:
هاييتي هي أفقر بلدان النصف الغربي ، وفيها غاسلو أقدام أكثر من ماسحي الأحذية ، وغاسلو الأقدام هم أطفال يغسلون لقاء قطعة عملة أقدام الزبائن الحفاة ، الذين ليس لديهم احذية يلمعونها . ومتوسط اعمار الهايتيين أكثر قليلا من ثلاثين سنة ، وتسعة من كل عشرة هايتيين لا يعرفون القراءة والكتابة ، ومن اجل الاستهلاك الداخلي يزرعون حواف الجبال القاحلة ، ومن اجل التصدير يزرعون السهول الخصبة ، أفضل الأراضي تخصص للبن والسكر والكاكاو ، والمنتجات الأخرى التي تتطلبها السوق الأمريكية الشمالية . وليس هناك من يلعب البيسبول في هاييتي لكن هاييتي هي المنتج العالمي الأول لكرات البيسبول ، وفي البلاد مصانع يعمل فيها الأطفال مقابل دولار واحد في اليوم في تركيب أجهزة الكاسيت والقطع الإلكترونية وهي بالطبع منتجات للتصدير ، وبالطبع تصدّر الأرباح أيضا.
Profile Image for Cami L. González.
1,157 reviews395 followers
August 6, 2020

Veamos, no es una lectura fácil de digerir ni entretenida. Hubo un momento en que se me hizo bastante pesada, porque quería procesar todo lo que me decía e, idealmente, aprender. Es nuestra historia, el por qué América Latina es cómo es. El libro explica que nos metieron en una carrera en la que ni siquiera teníamos posibilidades de cruzar la línea de meta en último lugar.

Me puso indescriptiblemente triste y furiosa por la frustración, no sé de qué otra forma decirlo. El libro se publicó en 1970 y hay un apartado escrito en 1978. ¿Las cosas mejoraron? Es difícil de decirlo, sobre todo en Chile que el año pasado tuvimos que salir a las calles a reclamar por un sistema que nos consumía, nos volvía pobres y nuestro trabajo sustentaba las ganancias de los mismos de siempre. Me gustaría creer que aprendimos, pero está por verse si gana, en un par de años, el candidato que los matinales tan descaradamente hacen campaña.

No sé qué decir del ensayo, es asqueroso (lo que dice, no la forma). Estoy asqueada de las personas, de los países y de que básicamente consiguiéramos la "libertad" para solo ser el sustento de las riquezas de los países europeos y de Estados Unidos. Es triste ver el cómo lograron que compitiéramos entre nosotros (países latinoamericanos) mientras ellos se llevaban las verdaderas ganancias de las guerras.

En la actualidad, cualquiera de las corporaciones multinacionales opera con mayor coherencia y sentido de unidad que este conjunto de islas que es América Latina, desgarrada por tantas fronteras y tantas incomunicaciones. ¿Qué integración pueden realizar, entre sí, países que ni siquiera se han integrado por dentro?

Galeano logra hacer bastante digerible la información, con un lenguaje sencillo y sin darse vueltas dice lo que tiene que decir. No hay palabras complicadas de sociología ni de economía. Como dice el mismo autor, es un libro escrito por alguien no especializado para un público no especializado y cumple con ello.

A pesar de lo oscuro que es leer esta especie de crónica del continuo robo de las riquezas de América Latina, también hay toque de esperanza. En el sentido de que se han podido hacer cambios, que estos fueran luego bloqueados y atacados por ciertos países es otra cosa. Pero se puede hacer. El secreto está en que los países latinoamericanos sean gobernados por personas cuyos intereses estén en estos países, no en los negocios que puedan hacer por debajo de la mesa con las potencias. Lo que debe sumarse a un trabajo conjunto con los demás vecinos de la región. Es difícil, casi imposible, pero si algo aprendimos del año anterior es que es el inicio de ese camino o ver arder todo, porque ya estamos cansados.

La mejor forma de resumir la historia de América Latina y cerrar esta "reseña" es esta:

Los latinoamericanos somos pobres porque es rico el suelo que pisamos y los lugares privilegiados por la naturaleza han sido malditos por la historia.
Profile Image for Neal Adolph.
143 reviews90 followers
April 27, 2017
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 has yet coalesced into a thing I would call a review, or even a passable reflection. This book has left me with a complicated bundle of thoughts, and they seem to still transcend the pleasant shaping of words and punctuation into sentences, and sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into something that communicates an appreciation of some piece of work. But here I go again. Back at the well, feeling somehow obliged to make something good out of this scramble of thoughts.

Part of my problem is that this book has me caught between three worlds that I have a hard time bringing together. The first world is the social democrat and dedicated activist, who is particularly concerned by the wrath of economic inequality in the world and how it is perpetuated by capitalism. The second world is that of the historian, my field and the thing that I call my profession when I am asked what it is (even if I make my money in other ways), the thing which nourishes my understanding of the world, the thing which gets me excited and impassioned about the world. The third world is that of the reader, who hopes that a few nice words put together in the right nice order will produce something greater than the sum of its parts, and that, as a reader, I will be able to recognize and appreciate and, moreover, enjoy the outcome. This world hits all of those points. I have so much to say. But I must, for the sake of time, and for the sake of yours, keep this short. You have already read too much about me.

This book, when it was released, was a firecracker. It was bold in its scope, nearly unthinkably audacious, the sort of work which was hoping to set the world at unease. And it succeeded. In this work, Galeano condemns centuries of pillaging from one of the grand, great, rich continents of the world for the benefit of another, outside continent, and its peoples. He explains how that process was essential for the fundamental advancement of that other continent - how it depended on the natural resources, human resources, and magical resources that were discovered on that new continent to make important technological and financial advancements. In this book Galeano explores how that relationship changed and altered and became more and more possessive, to the point where the entire continent was itself a possession in the great empires of the North. And in this book he was one of the first historians, and perhaps the first to translate his ideas into a work produced for the public, which connected the centuries of pillaging that resulted from European Empire to the contemporary problem of North American Empire in a logical and sensible and horrific progression of time and power. That is over four hundred years of history, covering an entire continent and more of exploitation, tossing in a bit of the history of two other continents as well, and attempting to explain the driving narrative or challenge of millions upon millions of lives - past and contemporary - in the process. And then it also talks about the contemporary issues of his own time. When I said that this book was audacious I meant it. It is unthinkably audacious. And, surprisingly, it does all of this fairly well, if not perfectly, if not seamlessly, it does it well.

That is because Galeano writes like a writer and not like a historian - an, at the time, unique ability and which has been equalled by few other people working in the field of studying and understanding the past. He has a strong opinion about the past, which is undeniable, and refreshing in its way. It is clear that for him, as somebody with a historical mindset, the past - distant and near - explains his life and the lives that he sees around him. And we all have opinions about our lives, of course, and many of us develop opinions about the lives that we see around us as well, be them informed or ignorant. He has just taken the extra step of looking into the past lives which made his life what it was and found something there that informed and reinforced his frustration. He also doesn’t hide his opinion behind over-written analysis and poorly constructed sentences as so many historians do, and neither does he attempt to make the history any less personal than it has to be - he isn’t, in essence, attempting to be academic in his writing. That said, his research is quite impressive by semi-academic standards, more well-informed, balanced, and deeper than you would expect from most any other history book which is written for the general public. In the end, Galeano’s contentious presentation is vindicated by his research. To this end, Galeano is known as a historian-poet, or a poet-historian. That’s a nice little niche that he managed to live in. I think you will understand it when you read the book, when you understand his language and feel the fire-breathing passion that ignited its creation.

When I read this book I discovered and was reminded of a great many things about my life in Canada. The wealth of my country is predicated on the poverty of other regions. These regions have never benefitted from the protection of self-development in quite the way that my own has, and Canada (and Canadian companies) are actively working to ensure that those kinds of economic policies never develop and that the underdeveloped countries of the work remain underdeveloped. And now that I live in Colombia, and have been living here for nearly a year, I can see it and feel it in the air. The consequences of a systematic effort by the powers of the world to strip away the richness of this continent, its cultures, its peoples, in an effort to destabilize them politically, financially, and geographically, and reap all of the benefits. It is obvious everywhere. It is felt everywhere. The English language does not communicate this - or at least my command of the language doesn’t. You have to be here to see it and taste it, the way that blood and exploitation and desperation are built into a continent that is rich beyond all possible imagination, which has had its veins tapped for centuries, and which still finds itself muddied in the pools of underdevelopment. The North, as Galeano calls us fortunate ones, has been a cruel mistress, a wrestling partner who is infinitely stronger, and its weight bears down on this place. The North, rather than this place, wins everyday in everyway possible.

The book isn’t perfect. But it doesn’t need to be. It is a leaping-off point for an entire way of understanding the world, a confirmation of things that I have imagined to be true, that I have heard sailing in the air at universities and in the street, and a great searing cry against the dehumanization of a continent because of the unfair distribution of international labour and trade. I have so much more to read, so much more to learn.

As a side note, on the afternoon that I finished reading this book I contacted a friend of mine in Canada. The two of us did our graduate programs together. I told him about the book, told him to urgently read it when he finished his thesis, told him how it changed my way of understanding Latin America and the place of underdeveloped regions in the world, how it challenged some of the few remaining liberal lies that I had gestating in my brain. I said to him, also, that this book convinced me, more than ever, that free trade is a horrifying economic policy and must be fought. In this book I read about the horrid past of an entire continent and saw the future of my country. It should be read by everybody. It is urgent and necessary.
Profile Image for Ana.
126 reviews41 followers
December 16, 2019
Este livro deveria vir junto com a certidao de nascimento de todos os latinos-americanos para que eles tenham noçao de onde nasceram e o papel de Calibã que eles estao destinados a cumprir. Foi escrito há 50 anos e logo censurado pelos militares que (des)governavam na época. Como nada muda, o livro ainda continua válido e atual para os dias de hoje. Esta leitura me deixou muito triste, revoltada e de maos atadas, porém é essencial. Prefiro um choque de realidade a morrer na ignorancia.

“Nunca seremos felizes, nunca”, profetizara Simón Bolívar.

"É a América Latina, a região das veias abertas. Do descobrimento aos nossos dias, tudo sempre se transformou em capital europeu ou norte-americano. A terra, seus frutos e suas profundezas ricas em minerais, os recursos naturais e os recursos humanos. O modo de produção e a estrutura de classes de cada lugar foram sucessivamente determinados, do exterior, por sua incorporação à engrenagem universal do capitalismo.  
Entrar no mundo: o mundo é o mercado. O mercado mundial, onde se compram países. Nada de novo. A América Latina nasceu para obedecê-lo, quando o mercado mundial ainda não se chamava assim, e aos trancos e barrancos continuamos atados ao dever de obediência.
Essa triste rotina dos séculos começou com o ouro e a prata, e seguiu com o açúcar, o tabaco, o guano, o salitre, o cobre, o estanho, a borracha, o cacau, a banana, o café, o petróleo... O que nos legaram esses esplendores? Nem herança nem bonança. Jardins transformados em desertos, campos abandonados, montanhas esburacadas, águas estagnadas, longas caravanas de infelizes condenados à morte precoce e palácios vazios onde deambulam os fantasmas.
Agora é a vez da soja transgênica, dos falsos bosques da celulose e do novo cardápio dos automóveis, que já não comem apenas petróleo ou gás, mas também milho e cana-de-açúcar de imensas plantações. Dar de comer aos carros é mais importante do que dar de comer às pessoas. E outra vez voltam as glórias efêmeras, que ao som de suas trombetas nos anunciam grandes desgraças.
Nós nos negamos a escutar as vozes que nos advertem: os sonhos do mercado mundial são os pesadelos dos países que se submetem aos seus caprichos. Continuamos aplaudindo o sequestro dos bens naturais com que Deus, ou o Diabo, nos distinguiu, e assim trabalhamos para a nossa perdição e contribuímos para o extermínio da escassa natureza que nos resta".

Profile Image for Tucker.
75 reviews3 followers
March 10, 2009
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 staggering amount of quantitative data, despite their couth and seemingly objective presentation. Even as I read this book with a grain 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 more about these forgotten people of Latin America.
Profile Image for Jose Moa.
519 reviews68 followers
April 4, 2017
A fundamental book for understand the ,social, economic,cultural,scientific and politic condition of Latin America.
A absolutely must to read for everybody, in special all Latin America inhabitants.

Perhaps somebody in a near future will write : "The Open Veins of Africa : Two Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent"
Profile Image for Thomas Ray.
1,090 reviews347 followers
September 30, 2021

Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, Eduardo Galeano (1940-2015), 1973 (written 1970, published 1971 in Spanish as Las venas abiertas de América Latina; epilog 1978, new foreword by Isabel Allende, 1997), ISBN 0853459916, Dewey 330.98

For high-school age and up. Facts that history as told by conquerors hides or lies about. p. 265. The most favorable reviews came from the military dictatorships who praised the book by banning it.

Galeano's wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduardo... He was an Uruguayan journalist.

New foreword by Isabel Allende, 1997:
The U.S. would not allow a leftist experiment to succeed in "its backyard." After coups in many countries, half the continent's population was living in terror. (Salvador Allende was president of Chile when Galeano wrote this book. p. 130. Dec. 20, 1970 he announced plans to nationalize Chile's copper mines--from which Anaconda Copper and Kennecott Copper, U.S. firms, had extracted $4 billion. p. 144. Allende would die during a CIA-sponsored coup in 1973.)

The division of labor among nations is that some specialize in winning and others in losing.

Part I: Mankind's Poverty as a consequence of the wealth of the land

1: Lust for Gold, Lust for Silver

1513 Balboa sees the Pacific
1522 Magellan's 18 surviving circumnavigators return to Spain.
1533 Pizarro seizes the heart of the Inca empire. p. 16.
1800 at least half of Mexican land & capital belonged to the Church. p. 31.

A staggering fraction of the population was worked to death in the mines. Mercury poisoning killed miners within 4 years, if nothing else yet had. Today's (1971) Bolivian miners die of lung diseases at age 35. pp. 46-47. The gold mines of Ouro Preto in Brazil had an insatiable appetite for slaves: they died in short order, only in rare cases enduring the seven years of continuous labor. p. 54. Even now (1971) Bolivians die with rotted lungs so the world may consume cheap tin. p. 149.

Wealth extracted from land and labor was squandered in opulence.

The exploited workers under colonial rule remained exploited workers after independence: the landed aristocrats under colonial rule were still landed aristocrats after independence. pp. 46, 116.

2. King Sugar and Other Agricultural Monarchs

Where opulence is most opulent, misery is most miserable. p. 64.
Allen Dulles was a director of the Francisco Sugar Company in Cuba. p. 74.
Police in Brazil arrested peasants and sold them as slaves, to wealthy landowners, in 1970. p. 87.
Countries dependent on banana, coffee, cacao exports, subject to competition & price reductions, leave people poor and underfed. p. 94.

"Dumping" of U.S.-Government-subsidized cotton, rice, wheat, corn, and other agricultural commodities destroys farmers' livelihoods worldwide. p. 95. Latin American agricultural workers receive hunger wages or are serfs. Salvadorans, who supply cotton to Japanese textile industries, consume fewer calories and proteins than the hungry peasants of India. 25% of Salvadorans die of vitamin deficiency. p. 98.

U.S. companies take the profit from Latin American bananas, coffee, and cotton. Latin Americans are the victims. p. 100.

Colombia erupted in peasant revolt, savagely crushed by the forces of wealth, 1948-1957. 80 percent were undernourished. p. 104.

Early 1800s, the red cochineal bug and blue indigo plant were Central American exports to the British textile industry. 1850, German chemists supplanted them with synthetics. p. 105.

1880: coffee. Local elite grabbed the land and labor, with government help. p. 106. U.S. Marine Corps General Smedley Butler was "a high-class muscle man for Big Business" for 33 years. p. 108.

United Fruit (now Chiquita) https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unite... essentially owned Guatemala. It used only 8% of the land it held. The Arbenz government bought some of the unused land and began distributing it to peasants. The Eisenhower administration trained and equipped Colonel Armas' thugs to overthrow Guatemala's government in 1954 and install Armas as military dictator. "We had to get rid of a Communist government," said Eisenhower. p. 113. CIA director Allen Dulles had been on United Fruit's board of directors. His brother John Foster Dulles was a lawyer who had worked for United Fruit. This began a [40]-year reign of terror. The slaughter that is greater but more hidden--the daily genocide of poverty--also continues.

In Mexico, Emiliano Zapata and his followers fought the landowners and their governments, 1910 to 1919, when they killed him. pp. 120-126.

1.5% of agricultural landlords own half of all cultivable land.

Latin America from the start was used for plunder of its land and labor, which continues. The New England colonies by contrast yielded no mineral or tropical-crop plunder: England permitted them to develop factories, and use the land for homesteading pioneers. pp. 130-133.

3. The Invisible Sources of Power

The U.S. depends on foreign sources for most of the minerals it needs to maintain its ability to wage war. p. 137.

Part II: Development Is a Voyage with More Shipwrecks than Navigators

4. Tales of Premature Death

After World War II, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank denied underdeveloped countries the right to protect their industries. p. 204.

5. The Contemporary Structure of Plunder

Imperialism spreads poverty widely and concentrates wealth narrowly. p. 207.

Latin-American dictatorships hawk their countries to foreign capitalists as a pimp offers a woman. p. 217.

IMF requirements further opened the gates to foreign conquerors. p. 220.

"Aid" works like the philanthropist who put a wooden leg on his piglet because he was eating it bit by bit. p. 227.

The World Bank responds to the United States like thunder to lightning. p. 234.

Part III: Seven Years After

Chilean dictator Picochet gave foreign monopolists the businesses Allende had nationalized. Business free as never before; people in jail as never before. Free market? The price of milk has not been controlled in Chile since 1975. Two firms dominate the market. The price of milk for consumers went up 40%, while for the producers it went down by 22%. p. 271.

The abyss in Latin America between the well-being of the few and the misery of the many is infinitely greater than in Europe or the United States. p. 271. Hence more ruthlessness in maintaining it. In Uruguay, the function of one fifth of the active population is to watch, trail, and punish the others.

Dictators keep their boots on the necks of their people to supply cheap labor to an international market that demands cheap products. p. 275.

Profile Image for plainzt .
569 reviews60 followers
January 18, 2022
Derli toplu bir kapitalist sistem eleştirisi. Her ne kadar Latin Amerika kapsamında sömürünün, köleliğin, yağmanın, barbarlığın tarihi ve araçları anlatılmış olsa da yazılanlar günümüze de uyarlanabilecek durumda. Ekonomiyi, siyaseti, tarihi perspektifi büyük bir ustalıkla kavramış bir yazar anlatısı. Anlatım dili sade ve akıcı. Yapılan atıflarda da görüleceği üzere özenli bir araştırmanın ürünü bu kitap.

Hem bölümlerin kendi içindeki bağlantının hem de kitabın bütününde fikri takibin biraz daha sistematik olmasını tercih ederdim. Tek tek ülkeler üzerinden gidilseydi daha çok sevebilirdim. Fakat bu haliyle de oldukça başarılı bir eser.

Kitaptan bana kalan şu oldu: kapitalist sistemde ekonomik olarak refah ve mutluluk içinde yaşamak için diğer ülkeleri sömürmekten başka yol yok.
Profile Image for Hani Al-Kharaz.
249 reviews85 followers
June 5, 2018
عندما زار الرئيس الفنزويلي الراحل هوغو تشافيز الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية عام ٢٠٠٩، اختار أن يهدي نسخة من هذا الكتاب للرئيس الأمريكي أوباما أمام عدسات الكاميرات التي سجلت الحرج البالغ والتوتر الذي أصاب أوباما وهو يتلقى هدية ضيفه. في اليوم التالي، قفزت مبيعات الكتاب في موقع أمازون الى المرتبة الثانية ضمن الكتب الأكثر مبيعاً.
من يقرأ الكتاب يدرك الرسالة السياسية المحكمة والذكية التي وجهها تشافيز لأوباما في هديته. فالكتاب يستعرض قصة استنزاف ثروات أمريكا اللاتينية من قبل الاستعمار أولاً والامبريالية البريطانية ثم الأمريكية، المباشرة والغير مباشرة، تالياً عبر قرون من العبودية والتبعية. وما يصدق على دول أمريكا اللاتينية في الكتاب يصدق على غيرها من دول العالم الثالث.

لم يكن السكان الأصليون في الأمريكيتين متوحشين كما حاولت الآلة الإعلامية الغربية دائما تصويره ولم ينقصهم الذكاء ولا مقومات الحضارة. كل ما هنالك أنهم لم يمتلكوا الجشع الذي تسلط على مستعمريهم الأوروبيين ودفعهم لاستنزاف خيرات القارة. بدءاً من الذهب والفضة، مروراً بالسكر والبن والمطاط والكاكاو والموز والنترات والمعادن والنفط تتالت فصول القصة مكررة نفسها مرةً بعد أخرى: استعباد لأصحاب الأرض واستنزاف للثروات، تصدير للمواد الخام لمراكز التصنيع الرأسمالية الرئيسية في بري��انيا وأمريكا، فتح للأسواق المحلية أمام التجارة الحرة، انهيار للصناعة المحلية او ابتلاعها من الماكينة الرأسمالية، يتبعه اختلال في الميزان التجاري وتبعية كاملة للغرب الرأسمالي. تتكدس الثروات في يد الأوليغاركيات التابعة للإمبريالية والتي لا تتوانى عن تبذيرها في مظاهر جامحة من الترف، ومن يفكر في الثورة عليها تتكفل به الآلة العسكرية الغربية بشكل مباشر أحياناً وغالباً بتمويل الانقلابات العسكرية. ثم تأتي "المساعدات" الدولية والتمويلات المالية من البنك الدولي ومؤسسة النقد الدولي لتحكم الخناق على الاقتصاد المحلي وتخضعه للغرب الى الأبد.

تاريخ الأمريكيتين تاريخ مفجع بحق وهو يلخص مأساة البشرية في العصر الحديث. أبدع غاليانو في استعراضه لهذا التاريخ وزاد من روعته الأسلوب الأدبي الجزل الذي يكتب به.

هل يا ترى سيأتي من يتحدث عن إمارات النفط يوماً ما بمثل ما تحدث عنه غاليانو في كتابه عن مدن الذهب في أمريكا اللاتينية؟ لا أستبعد ذلك ما دمنا نفتقد الرؤية الواضحة لاستغلال ثرواتنا التي تحولت إلى لعنة. ومن يعتقد أن إمارات النفط ستبقى على حالها بعد نضوبه فهو واهم وما عليه إلا أن يقرأ هذا الكتاب ليتأكد بنفسه.
Profile Image for Nicolás Rivas.
48 reviews9 followers
August 19, 2015
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.
Profile Image for Amr Fahmy.
Author 3 books130 followers
June 10, 2020
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 للأستاذ 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.
Profile Image for Roxanne (The Novel Sanctuary).
375 reviews230 followers
August 28, 2017
Incredibly informative, well researched and thought out book that provides context into how Latin America got to the state it is in today.
Profile Image for Ivana.
411 reviews
July 2, 2012
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 book.
If you think about what you're reading, you will be enraged, upset, depressed and left with a feeling of either utter hopelessness for the world, or a burning desire to start your own revolution and change the world.
Maybe you are a history buff, like me, and maybe you love everything related to Latin America. You will find things in this book you didn't know.
But perhaps most importantly, you will understand why capitalism is not the "best thing since sliced bread" and why it is going to be the ultimate destruction of human species, as we know it. The most flawed system of them all...
And then, you'll understand just how great the injustice is in this world. Yes, you knew this before, I'm sure. But trust me, you will be awed by the details, names, years, dates....you'll understand why the IMF, World Bank and other "good-doing" organizations are the most criminal institutions ever known to man...
Galeano deserves a freaking medal for this. If for nothing else, then for the vast, meticulous research he conducted to bring this book to fruition.
Oh, and by the way- this book was written in 1970. Yes, 1970. But, as I read the news today, I found so many articles and I shouted "this is exactly what I read about in Galeano's book". Yes, indeed,history does repeat itself. And our history is sad, filled with bloodshed, greed and injustice which keep perpetuating the vicious cycle the world finds itself in.
Just read it. I used to say that Howard Zinn's "people's history of the United States" is the only history book you ever need to read. Now, I must say that aside from Zinn's, this is another one you absolutely must read.
Profile Image for Adrián Sánchez.
148 reviews10 followers
June 3, 2015
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 critica sino más bien alaba al régimen cubano que posee casi comportamientos similares contra su propio pueblo ni a las políticas aplicadas en los propios gobiernos latinoamericanos (apenas algo en la Guerra de la Triple Alianza pero le termina echando la culpa a los Ingleses) aparte de no ofrecer soluciones concretas sino acumular odio, resentimiento e incluso algo de xenofobia (generaliza el pueblo con los gobernantes) con el pasar de las páginas.

Actualización al 04-12-2014:
Luego de haberme documentado más al respecto, sobretodo en temas de sistemas económicos a lo largo de la historia me doy cuenta de que esta crítica es una completa falacia, Galeano no ve que la raíz del problema social y económico en latinoamérica no se trata de la explotación de recursos que ocurrió en el pasado, o "el capitalismo" sino en las medidas estatistas que terminan corrompiendo a la sociedad haciendo a los individuos que la conforman incapaces de funcionar independientemente, es decir, debido a las medidas que imponen los gobiernos en busca de un bienestar común se crea una sociedad dependiente que impide el desarrollo de los individuos, la verdadera crítica es hacia el estado, no indagar en hechos históricos que no llevan a una solución.
Profile Image for عبدالرحمن عقاب.
690 reviews801 followers
June 26, 2016
ثلاث خواطر انتابتني وأنا أقرأ هذا الكتاب.‏
‏-ليته يجد من يكتب جزأه الثاني! أقصد منذ 1978 وحتى اليوم. فلقد تضاعف الفعل ‏والأثر . والغريب أنّ كاتبه (غاليانو) لم يكتب ذلك الجزء رغم أنّه عاش حتى عام 2015!‏
‏-ليته يجد من يكتب مرآته! أقصد قصّة الأوروبيين مع الجهة الأخرى من العالم؛ الشرق ‏والجنوب. فلا أظنّ أنّ الأمور سارت بشكلٍ أفضل هنا، بل لربما كانت أبشع.‏
‏-يستحقّ هذا الكتاب تحويله إلى فيلم وثائقي. ‏
يروي الكتاب قصّة استغلال الأوروبيين ثم الأمريكيين الشماليين (أو لنقل العالم الأوّل ‏‏"المتحضّر"! لبلاد وشعوب أميركا الجنوبية، تلك البلاد شاسعة المساحة كثيرة السكّان، ‏غزيرة الموارد. وذلك منذ اكتشافها على يد كولومبوس وحتى سبعينات القرن الماضي. ‏
القصّة ليست شيّقة ولعلّ الأوروبي الحديث يخجل منها، و يجد الأخلاقي نفسه في اضطرار ‏للاعتذار عنها. لكنّ الأحمق وحده من يظنّ أن فصولها اننتهت أو أنّ دوافعها ماتت ‏وأيامها انقضت!!‏
يعين الكتاب على قراءة الواقع الجيوبوليتيكي للعالم اليوم، ويكشف عن كثيرٍ مما نراه من ‏الأحداث التي يخفي ظاهرها الإعلامي باطنًا كريهًا. كما يُجيب عن اسئلة مهمّة مثل سبب ‏الفرق التاريخي بين أميركا الشمالية وأميركا الوسطى والجنوبية، وكيف أدّى إلى ما نرى ‏من فارقٍ حضاري واضح، وكيف وصلت تلك الدول الجنوبية إلى قاع واقعها,‏
كما يُختم الكتاب بفصلٍ مهم وجميل وهو الذي كتبه (غاليانو) كما يبدو من عنوانه في طبعة ‏الكتاب التالية (بعد سبع سنين). ‏
لا يخلو الكتاب من استفاضة في ذكر تاريخ وشخصيات محدّدة لا يجد القاريء العربي (أو ‏غير الأمريكي الجنوبي) فيها ما يهمّه من تفاصيل، إلا أنّ هذا حقّ للكاتب الذي أراد أن ‏يُخاطب أهله وناسه. ‏
وللكتاب قصّة طريفة، بعيدًا عن كاتبه! فمن كتابٍ يشهد إقبالًا شعبيًا كبيرًا، ويُمنع في موطنه، ‏لكنّه يواصل الحياة إلى أن يكون كتابًا يُهدى لرئيس الولايات المتحدّة الأمريكية، ويدخل ‏مكتبة البيت الأبيض ويرتقي سلّم الكتب الأكثر مبيعًا على موقع الأمازون!! ‏

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Profile Image for Kevin.
289 reviews917 followers
October 9, 2018
The Good:
--How the world works is built on the international division of labor. Galeano illustrates the contours, revealing the systemic underdevelopment (or rather, over-exploitation) of periphery regions (in this case, Latin America) from colonial capitalism to modern “liberal” capitalism (this book was written in ’71). An important reminder that capitalism's playground is global, thus our struggles, solidarity, and change must also be global.
--As many reviews note, poetic humanism that brings history to life; social scholars should also take the time to engage with the general public.
--I found the first half (colonial capitalism) to be the most helpful, as an overview.

The Bad, or rather suggestions:
--Perhaps because I’ve read more on modern liberal capitalism, but I found the second half to lack structure. It does not seem to have the same chronology-of-history backbone as the first half (thus, not the optimal history overview). While it detours into economic examples, it seems to lack organized economic concepts.
--In terms of further readings, it now seems tame to suggest Ha-Joon Chang given his liberal biases (although he is quite useful in presenting certain Development Economics theories for the general public). It seems logical to explore the Marxists and World-Systems scholars that Galeano sites, like Vladimir Lenin and Samir Amin. My personal favorite at the moment is Amiya Kumar Bagchi (Perilous Passage: Mankind and the Global Ascendancy of Capital) and the fabulous Vijay Prashad (The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World, also fantastic lectures online).

Galeano's concluding remarks:
In these lands we are not experiencing the primitive infancy of capitalism but its vicious senility. Underdevelopment isn't a stage of development, but its consequence. Latin America's underdevelopment arises from external development, and continues to feed it. A system made impotent by its function of international servitude, and moribund since birth, has feet of clay. It pretends to be destiny and would like to be thought eternal. All memory is subversive, because it is different, and likewise any program for the future. The zombie is made to eat without salt: salt is dangerous, it could awaken him. The system has its paradigm in the immutable society of ants. For that reason it accords ill with the history of humankind, because that is always changing. And because in the history of humankind every act of destruction meets its response, sooner or later, in an act of creation.
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