Eduardo Galeano: 03.09 1940-13.04.2015
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.
Blah blah blah en español.
Entrevista completa del proyecto KingLMan, entre otras cosas, en Diario de Avisos
Click below if your Spanish is better than mine, or do that Google Translate thang, lord knows I do.
I’m preparing a twenty second spoken-word bit for my amigo, Juan Carlos, he’s one of the owners of the studio where I spend most evenings. He’s been asked to arrange a musical piece for the upcoming Carnival in Santa Cruz. We spend quite some time discussing political games, and even the Carnival is part of the political process, it’s used like a lollipop to a child, on the masses, stick this (the carnival) in their mouths, and we’ll have them forgetting that we are fleecing them, lying to them, and taking care of our own.
Anyway, the theme of this years Carnival is the sixties, Vietnam War, and the music of the time that reflected the prevailing moods. Checking back on what Martin Luther King Jr. said, especially about how many in the country and media turned their back on him when he spoke against the war, preferring that he stay within their confines of civil rights. Or questioning his motives, labeling him a traitor for being critical of the bombing of people of colour thousands of miles from home, while brothers and sisters at home couldn’t get a micro-teenth of the money spent on the military machine to better their situation. Two months before he was murdered he declared his country was “the world’s greatest purveyor of violence.”. Thirty years later the figures bear true, of every ten dollars spent on arms in the world, four and a half end up in the US.
I went back to find the following quote from Smedley Butler. He is one of the most decorated men that ever existed in Uncle
Jam’s Sam’s Army Machine. After his retirement he said:
“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
Recommended reading: Upside Down by Eduardo Galeano
Writer and historian Eduardo Galeano spoke yesterday at the festival of documentary films in Guia de Isora:
“Governments, when they look up they lick. When they look down they spit.”
Recommended reading Faces and Masks, Memory of Fire, Upside Down, Open Veins of Latin America
More here in original form via Creativa Canarias / Héctor Martín González