Author of Bible of the Latin American Anti-American Left Disavows Own Book

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The left is reacting with predictable grace and decency to Eduardo Galeano’s willingness to question 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.

“The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent” was written at the dawn of the 1970s, a decade when much of Latin America was governed by repressive right-wing military dictatorships supported by the United States. In this 300-page cri de coeur, Mr. Galeano argued that the riches that first attracted European colonizers, like gold and sugar, gave rise to a system of exploitation that led inexorably to “the contemporary structure of plunder” that he held responsible for Latin America’s chronic poverty and underdevelopment.

So how is the left taking it?

Michael Yates, the editorial director of Monthly Review Press, Mr. Galeano’s American publisher, dismissed the entire discussion. “Please! The book is an entity independent of the writer and anything he might think now.”

Forget the fact that the book is an expression of the author’s views about the world. Let’s pretend that its views can exist entirely apart from those of its author.

Mr. Yates said Mr. Galeano might simply be following in the tracks of the novelist John Dos Passos, a radical as a young man “who became a conservative when he got older.” On Spanish- and Portuguese-language websites, others have suggested that Mr. Galeano, who in recent years has had both a heart attack and cancer, might simply be off his game intellectually.

That’s certainly classy. Galeano admits that he wasn’t qualified to write the book, so the response is to claim that he’s too old to be qualified to admit that.

Or as Le Razon put it, “It is unfortunate that senescence leads people to deny their own actions, and stop them thinking about the consequences of our thoughts and anticolonial practices.”

In his remarks in Brazil, Mr. Galeano acknowledged that the left sometimes “commits grave errors” when it is in power.

Heresy! The anti-colonial Bolivarian revolution never makes mistakes.

  • American Patriot

    “supported by the United States”

    Notice how they ignore all of the left-wing dictatorships supported by the Soviet Union in the Western Hemisphere like the Communist dictatorship in Cuba, the Communist-oriented dictatorships in Peru and Panama, the Soviet/Cuban Communist satrap in Chile (which was governed by a Stalin fanatic, Allende, who won an election despite being far from a majority, as he only achieved a plurality that was a slim margin), the eventual Sandinista dictatorship in Nicaragua and the Communist dictatorships in Grenada and Suriname, and the Cuban Communist puppet regime in Jamaica. I suggest to readers who want to learn more about real Latin American history to read Humberto Fontova’s writings. After all, he is an expert on Latin American history.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      “I suggest to readers who want to learn more about real Latin American
      history to read Humberto Fontova’s writings. After all, he is an expert
      on Latin American history.”


      • Silver Gonzales

        Fontova will agree with what I say. Who financed Castro and his Rebels?. Who supplied the Luftwaffe with fuel? Who financed Communism in Russia and China and possibly indirectly in North Korea?

        The US Elites and their Rockefellian adjoints at the US State Dept have done many a cruel thing. The world is slowly reading about it now and be prepared for a lot of Anti American feelings when in a foreign country. It is coming….

    • Silver Gonzales

      The CIA supported Castro and Che to take over Cuba and who knows what else. CIA is a Rockefeller enterprise. David Rockefeller is responsible for the suffering of the people of Russia and China under communism, Vietnam, the Iraq wars authorized by the Bush Crime Family, all to take over or install a central bank to print fancy toilet paper.

      Within America the US govt is seen as a demiGod but to most of the world it is the hands and foot of the Devil.

      Competition is a sin – John D. Rockefeller

      Silver Gonzales

  • liz

    The “wisdom that comes with age” is a foreign thing to leftists.
    Staying hip and cool in a 60’s time warp is way more important.

  • Silver Gonzales

    Everyone in the CIA and everyone at State was pro-Castro, except (Republican) ambassador Earl Smith.” (CIA operative in Santiago Cuba 1957’59, Robert Weicha.)

    “Don’t worry. We’ve infiltrated Castro’s guerrilla group in the Sierra Mountains. The Castro brothers and Ernesto “Che” Guevara have no affiliations with any Communists whatsoever.” (crackerjack Havana CIA station chief Jim Noel 1958.) In the fall of ’57, the CIA smuggled into Cuba the state-of-the-art transmitters that became Castro and Che’s “Radio Rebelde” From these mics, the Castroites broadcast their “guerrilla victories” island-wide, along with their plans to uplift Cuba into a Caribbean Shangri-La inspired by the principles of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Jefferson, and St Francis of Assisi.”

    “Without U.S. help Fidel Castro would never have gotten into power,” flatly testified former U.S. Ambassador to Cuba, Earl T. Smith during Congressional testimony in 1960.

    NOT STUPID LIBERALS WITHIN THE CIA but the CIA itself. CIA, KGB, UN, CFR, are all Rockefeller organs.

  • craigbhill

    Too bad this Shill-man myopically never focused on Christianity and the globally destructive governments that represented It, from the barbarity of the Christian Roman Empire post-Constantine to today’s anarchic warmaking. He hasn’t seen anything yet.

  • Arthur Maisel

    I notice that you don’t acknowledge the New York Times as the source of the lengthy quotes—too liberal for your readers? Anyway, Galleano’s comments were about (1) the style of the book, which he finds bad now—this is far from uncommon among authors looking at forty-year-old work—and (2) his grasp of economics at the time he wrote it, which he now feels was inadequate to the task. This is hardly a complete disavowal. And what neither you nor the New York Times quote is his statement that he does not regret having written the book.