Tuesday, June 2, 2009


When President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela met President Barack Obama in April, he gave the American President a copy of "Las venas abiertas de América Latina" (or "Open Veins of Latin America") by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano. That book, which Galeano wrote while in political exile in Argentina and published in 1973, was the opening blast in a uniquely explosive career that has sought to analyze the centuries-long economic exploitation of Latin American history using an uncommonly lyrical prose style. The book was banned by right-wing governments throughout South America, but it was routinely smuggled into Uruguay, Chile and Argentina and then circled underground, soon acquiring the status of a classic.

In 1976 the Videla regime took power in Argentina and Galeano was condemned to death. He chose exile again, this time in Spain, where he wrote his equally famous poetic history of Latin America, Memoria del fuego (Memory of Fire), a blindingly brilliant three-volume work that draws from pre-Columbian myth and first hand contemporary accounts of historic events. Since then he has published dozens of books of fiction, journalism, and social history, always pointing to abuses of power and advocating for social justice.

Galeano will be in Seattle this Thursday night, June 4th, at Town Hall. He'll be speaking about his newest book, Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone and answering all manner of questions on politics, poetry, and his personal view of history. Tickets are just $5, available here.

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