Eduardo Galeano Disavows His Book ‘The Open Veins’

May 29, 2014

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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The Trials of Muhammad Ali

August 21, 2013


Dirty Wars

May 25, 2013


Eduardo Galeano Interview

May 25, 2013

Here’s a recent interview on Democracy Now with the great Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano. During the interview Galeano reads several selections from his latest book “Children of the Days”.

Always interesting and insightful, we are indeed fortunate to have Galeano still with us, still writing, still enlightening.

Part 1

Part 2


C.L.R. James and E.P. Thompson in Conversation

January 7, 2013

This is a truly priceless video of a long conversation between two great historians, C.L.R. James and E.P. Thompson.

Their meeting took place in the 1980’s hence their discussion of Reagan and Thatcher as well as a fascinating dialogue on the state of the international Left and peace movement.


Granito: How to Nail a Dictator

September 16, 2011

What Paul Robeson Said

September 15, 2011

What Paul Robeson Said

In April 1949, just as the Cold War was beginning to intensify, actor, singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson traveled to France to attend the Soviet Union-sponsored Paris Peace Conference. After singing “Joe Hill,” the famous ballad about a Swedish-born union activist falsely accused and convicted of murder and executed in Utah in 1915, Robeson addressed the audience and began speaking extemporaneously, as he often did, about the lives of black people in the United States. Robeson’s main point was that World War III was not inevitable, as many Americans did not want war with the Soviet Union.

Before he took the stage, however, his speech had somehow already been transcribed and dispatched back to the United States by the Associated Press. By the following day, editorialists and politicians had branded Robeson a communist traitor for insinuating that black Americans would not fight in a war against the Soviet Union. Historians would later discover that Robeson had been misquoted, but the damage had been almost instantly done. And because he was out of the country, the singer was unaware of the firestorm brewing back home over the speech.

It was the beginning of the end for Robeson, who would soon be declared “the Kremlin’s voice of America” by a witness at hearings by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Committee chair John Wood, a Georgia Democrat, summoned baseball great Jackie Robinson to Washington. Robinson, appearing reluctantly, denounced Robeson’s views and assured the country that the singer did not speak on behalf of black Americans. Robeson’s passport was soon revoked, and 85 of his planned concerts in the United States were canceled. Some in the press were calling for his execution.

Later that summer, in civil rights-friendly Westchester County, New York, at the one concert that was not canceled, anti-communist groups and Ku Klux Klan types hurled racial epithets, attacked concertgoers with baseball bats and rocks and burned Robeson in effigy. A man who had exemplified American upward mobility had suddenly become public enemy number one. Not even the leading black spokesmen of the day, whose causes Robeson had championed at great personal cost, felt safe enough to stand by the man dubbed as the “Black Stalin” during the Red Scare of the late 1940s and ’50s.

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