Open Veins of Latin America
Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent
Publisher: Monthly Review Press, New York
Year Published: 1973 First Published: 1971
Pages: 360pp Price: $18 ISBN: 978-0-85345-991-0
Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX8610
A political economy, a social and cultural narrative, and a powerful description of primitive capital accumulation.
Abstract: Originally banned in Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile, Open Veins of Latin America has undergone multiple printings since its first publication in 1971, a testament to the importance and continued relevance of this work. Galeano passionately recounts the exploitation of Latin America from conquest through to neocolonialism. Challenging the victors' version of history, he brings together the work of historians, sociologists, economists and anthropologists to provide a very different account. Galeano describes the current struggles of Latin America against poverty and underdevelopment as product of a history of oppression. He does so in a lucid narrative that is accessible and interesting, with a clear interest in restoring pride, dignity and hope.
Galeano shows that wealth and freedom do not exist in a vacuum but are inextricably linked to their opposites, poverty and enslavement. It was through plunder, slavery and genocide that the capitalist centres of our world were spawned, with Latin America functioning as an intermediary, never really participating in the international market but supplying desired raw material.
The conquest of Latin America began as a New World crusade where conquistadores served dual majesties, God and the Crown, to exploit the paradise of mineral and plant resources they found. This feudal system has remained essentially unchanged from colonialism through independence. Countries which attempt reform or advocate any anti-imperialist policy are controlled through international monetary loans and military action.
The zero-sum system that keeps Latin America subjugated is a human system. Exposing this as neither natural nor necessary, Galeano demonstrates that change is possible.
[Abstract by Diana Canning]
Table of Contents
Introduction: 120 Million Children in the Eye of the Hurricane
Part I: Mankind's Poverty as a Consequence of the Wealth of the Land
1. Lust for Gold, Lust for Silver
2. King Sugar and Other Agricultural Monarchs
3. The Invisible Sources of Power
Part II: Development is a Voyage with More Shipwrecks than Navigators
4. Tales of Premature Death
5. The Contemporary Structure of Plunder