Monday, April 20, 2009

Chávez's perfect gift to Obama

Presenting Eduardo Galeano's book, Open Veins of Latin America, to Barack Obama was a brilliant idea

Richard Gott, Monday 20 April 2009

"Some surprise has been expressed in the Anglo-Saxon world that Hugo Chávez should have presented a book to Barack Obama by Eduardo Galeano. Ignorance can be the only defence, the very fault that the Venezuelan president had earlier accused his US counterpart of suffering from. For Galeano is one of the most well-known and celebrated writers in Latin America, up there with Gabriel García Márquez, and his huge output of fact and fiction, as well as his journalism, has been published all over the continent. His books have been continuously in print since the 1960s, read voraciously by successive generations.

It was a brilliant idea of Chávez's to give Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America to Obama, since this book, first published in 1971, encapsulates a radical version of the history of Latin America with which most Latin Americans are familiar. Its subtitle, Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, gives a flavour of its contents, which discuss the way in which Latin America has been dominated and exploited by its European invaders (and later by US corporations) for hundreds of years....."

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