I read this book a long time ago (it wasn’t required reading for any of my undergraduate courses) and found it to be much too hyperbolic and unsubstantiated, so I’m very pleased and surprised to see Galeano disavow it.
From the New York Times:
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 reactions of factions, something I have become increasingly interested in, are predictable but maybe that’s why I am so interested in them. For example:
Michael Yates, the editorial director of Monthly Review Press [a socialist publishing outlet – bc], Mr. Galeano’s American publisher, dismissed the entire discussion as “nothing but a tempest in a teapot.” “Open Veins” is Monthly Review’s best-selling book — it surged, if briefly, into Amazon’s Top 10 list within hours of Mr. Obama’s receiving a copy — and Mr. Yates said he saw no reason to make any changes: “Please! The book is an entity independent of the writer and anything he might think now.”
Consider not only the reaction of a long-time socialist to the disavowal of one of his intellectual and – dare I say – spiritual bedrocks, but also the fact that a socialist is scrambling to keep his best-selling product from losing its quite subjective value. Read the whole report.