Eduardo Galeano Disavows His Book ‘The Open Veins’

It is really disappointing, terribly disappointing, to read Galeano’s comments regarding the masterful book that he wrote which presents the tragic history of Latin America and the forces responsible for its devastation in a clear and concise narrative.

“The Open Veins of Latin America” is a superb book. It is a book that not only has stood the test of time but continues to be relevant and speaks to the social, economic, and political conditions in Latin America today.

The influence of “Open Veins” on the masses in Latin America and other parts of the world is incalculable.

Is it possible that a writer, as brilliant as Galeano, can forget the power of his own work?

For more than 40 years, Eduardo Galeano’s “The Open Veins of Latin America” has been the canonical anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist and anti-American text in that region. Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s populist president, even put a copy of the book, which he had called “a monument in our Latin American history,” in President Obama’s hands the first time they met. But now Mr. Galeano, a 73-year-old Uruguayan writer, has disavowed the book, saying that he was not qualified to tackle the subject and that it was badly written. Predictably, his remarks have set off a vigorous regional debate, with the right doing some “we told you so” gloating, and the left clinging to a dogged defensiveness.

“ ‘Open Veins’ tried to be a book of political economy, but I didn’t yet have the necessary training or preparation,” Mr. Galeano said last month while answering questions at a book fair in Brazil, where he was being honored on the 43rd anniversary of the book’s publication. He added: “I wouldn’t be capable of reading this book again; I’d keel over. For me, this prose of the traditional left is extremely leaden, and my physique can’t tolerate it.”

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