Should you have some connection with Latin America, the Spanish speaking world, history, Uruguay, literature, oppression, exploitation, IMF, then you are aware of the humble giant who possessed a prose that was profound yet on the surface, easily accessible. His history of the milking of Latin America by the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, the US, Canada etc. were first contained in ¨Las venas abiertas de América Latina¨ (The Open Veins of Latin America), was written in a six week period when he was twenty-seven years old. He would later say he was too inexperienced to have written such a book, however it reading it now, as I have recently done again, it still holds as an insight into manuals of operations that have been played out by corporations, dictators, governments, business etc. aka well-organized crime. This was the book Hugo Chavez presented to Obama, on the latter’s first conference down south. “Read this, then you will understand, what we are saying.”
Upside Down is another personal favourite, his style now infused with a humour that was not present in his opening salvo. He was raging then, quite rightly so. However with Upside Down, I found myself breaking out in a laugh as I followed the lines with my eyes. Shit like this ain’t supposed to be funny, It eases the pain momentarily though, and we are in need of relief, and he was a medicine for a continent and beyond.
Below, his long-time translator and friend, Mark Fried talks with Sharmini Periest of The Real News Network about Galeano’s life.