« Fall 2009 Course description: SPAN 5526 | Main | International Symposium on Popular Music Studies: African Musics of the Portuguese- and French-speaking Worlds. »

Have you read this book?

At the Fifth Summit of the Americas meeting where President Obama met with the leaders of 34 nations of the Americas, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela gave President Obama a copy of Eduardo Galenao's 1971 book Las venas abiertas de América Latina (translated into English as Open Veins of Latin America). Immediately, sales figures on Amazon.com shot up as people bought the book to read on their own. Have you read this book? do you plan to read it? What do you think of this global "lesson" in light of your own experience or studies of Latin America?


This book is fundamental reading for anyone who cares about Latin America, colonialism, and globalization. This book will give you a deeper understanding of both the history of the legacy of colonialism in Latin America, and in my opinion even more importantly, the plunder of a continent by western countries and in their interests. The book was written before the assassination of chilean president Salvador Allende during the coup that occurred in chile as part of the guerra sucia and the operation condor on September 11, 1973. We read in these pages the hope Galeano expressed regarding Allende's vision, which included large scale agrarian reform, education reform, healthcare reform and nationalization of banking and copper mining industries. Thus it is sobering to think that just 2 years after this was written, Allende was assassinated and Chile became an experiment in Milton Friedman's and the Chicago School of Economics' pure market capitalism, which ultimately lead to Chile having one of the largest gaps between the rich and the poor, and unemployment rates up to 14%. Galeano's "venas abiertas" contextualizes the changes seen in Latin America during the guerra sucia, and exposes the legacy of western and capitalist interests in the region.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)