A sad day – losing two literary giants at the same time, Galeano and Germany’s Gunter Grass discussed in a separate article.
Galeano lost his struggle with lung cancer. His weekly publication Brecha confirmed his death.
He’s considered one of Latin America’s most distinguished authors. His works include 35 books.
Perhaps his most notable achievement was his Open Veins of Latin America – Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent.
In 2009, it became a US bestseller after Hugo Chavez gave Obama a copy. Its message taught him nothing.
Its brilliance set a standard for historical Latin American scholarship.
Galeano believed he helped rescue Latin America’s “kidnapped memory.” He called it a “despised and beloved land.”
He wrote: “The human murder by poverty in Latin America is secret.”
“Every year, without making a sound, three Hiroshima bombs explode over communities that have become accustomed to suffering with clenched teeth.”
He explained he was trying to write about political economics – but didn’t have the right training, he believed.
“I don’t regret writing it,” he said, “but I’ve moved beyond that stage.”
Galeano combined political and social analysis, journalism and history with the pain and suffering of an exploited people – long-suffering from US imperial plunder.
Open Veins is a classic work. It sits proudly on this writer’s shelf with other Galeano books.
Hugo Chavez called the work “a monument to our Latin American history. It allows us to learn history, and we have to build this history.”
Galeano once said:
“I’m a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia.”
Telesur said his writing “transcended orthodox genres…by combining documentary, fiction, journalism, political analysis and history.”
He’s listed in The Most Famous People web site as one of Latin America’s most admired literary figures. The site said:
“One of South America’s most renowned writers, he has been an ambassador of Latin American history and has provided the world an insight into their culture, heritage and struggles, through his passionate and honest writing.”
He championed human rights and social justice. He criticized predatory globalization. London’s Guardian said he became its poet laureate.
He explained how “(t)his world is not democratic at all.”
“The most powerful institutions, the IMF and the World Bank, belong to three or four countries,” he said.
“The others are watching. The world is organized by the war economy and the war culture.”
He once wrote “(i)n 1492, the natives discovered they were Indians. They discovered they lived in America.”
He strongly criticized US imperial policy. Obama is no different from the rest, he explained.
He won numerous awards – among them, the Casa de las Americas Prize, one of Latin America’s most prestigious literary honors.
His career spanned half a century. He wrote dozens of fiction and non-fiction works – translated into at least 20 languages.
He once said “(t)he only way that history won’t repeat itself if by keeping it alive.”
Bolivian President Evo Morales said “(t)he world and Latin America have lost a maestro of the liberation of the people.”
“His messages and works have always been oriented toward defending the sovereignty and dignity of our peoples.”
Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa tweeted:
“Eduardo Galeano, Uruguayan writer and dear friend. Latin America’s veins are open in your name.”
He and Gunter Grass are sorely missed at a time they’re more needed than ever.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks World War III“.
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.