Thursday, April 23, 2009

Defending Galeano

Regift, Please!:
"A decade ago, I and the other two co-authors of the 'Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot' devoted a chapter to refuting the historical and ideological fallacies contained in Galeano's tract, which we called the 'idiot's bible.' Everything that has happened in the Western Hemisphere since the book appeared in 1971 has belied Galeano's arguments and predictions. But I guess Chavez has given it the kiss of life and, since people are asking, here I go again."
I opened Galeano's Century of the Wind to a random page and read:

1980: Santa Marta
Out of each dollar of dreams that a U.S. marijuana smoker buys, barely one cent reaches the hands of the Colombian campesinos who grow it. The other ninety-nine cents go to the traffickers ...

... [T]he drug mafiosi live in ostentatious mansions. In front they like to display on granite pedestals the small planes the used in their first operation. They rock their children in gold cradles, give golden fingernails to their lovers ...

The mafiosi habitually fumigate their forces. Four years ago they machinegunned Lucho Barranquilla, the most popular of the traffickers, on a streetcorner in the city of Santa Marta. The murderers sent to the funeral a floral wreath in the form a heart and took up a collection to erect a statue of the departed on the main plaza.
It was pretty easy to find something relevant and topical in Galeano's 20+ year old writings. I'm not familiar at all with Open Veins, and maybe it is bad, but I'm inclined to give Galeano the benefit of the doubt here.
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