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Eduardo Galeano in 2005.
|Born||Eduardo Germán María Hughes Galeano
3 September 1940
Eduardo Hughes Galeano (born 3 September 1940) is a Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist. His best-known works are Las venas abiertas de América Latina (Open Veins of Latin America, 1971) and Memoria del fuego (Memory of Fire Trilogy, 1986), which have both been translated into 20 languages and transcend orthodox genres: combining journalism, political analysis, and history. The author himself has proclaimed his obsession as a writer saying, "I'm a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America above all and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia."
Galeano was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, to a middle-class Catholic family of European descent (Italian, Spanish, German and British descent). Like many young Latin American boys, Galeano dreamed of becoming a football player; this desire was reflected in some of his works, such as El Fútbol A Sol Y Sombra (Football in Sun and Shadow). In his teens, Galeano worked odd jobs – as a factory worker, a bill collector, a sign painter, a messenger, a typist, and a bank teller. At age 15, Galeano sold his first political cartoon to the Socialist Party weekly, El Sol, and married for the first time in 1959.
He started his career as a journalist in the early 1960s as editor of Marcha, an influential weekly journal which had such contributors as Mario Vargas Llosa, Mario Benedetti, Manuel Maldonado Denis and Roberto Fernández Retamar. For two years he edited the daily Época and worked as editor-in-chief of the University Press. In 1962, having divorced, he remarried to Graciela Berro.
In 1973, a military coup took power in Uruguay; Galeano was imprisoned and later was forced to flee. His book Open Veins of Latin America was banned by the right-wing military government, not only in Uruguay, but also in Chile and Argentina. He settled in Argentina where he founded the cultural magazine, Crisis. In 1976 he married for the third time to Helena Villagra; however, in the same year, the Videla regime took power in Argentina in a bloody military coup and his name was added to the lists of those condemned by the death squads. He fled again, this time to Spain, where he wrote his famous trilogy: Memoria del fuego (Memory of Fire).
At the beginning of 1985 Galeano returned to Montevideo, where he continues to live. Following the victory of Tabaré Vázquez and the Broad Front alliance in the 2004 Uruguayan elections marking the first left-wing government in Uruguayan history Galeano wrote a piece for The Progressive titled "Where the People Voted Against Fear" in which Galeano showed support for the new government and concluded that the Uruguayan populace used "common sense" and were "tired of being cheated" by the traditional Colorado and Blanco parties. Following the creation of TeleSUR, a pan-Latin American television station based in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2005 Galeano along with other left-wing intellectuals such as Tariq Ali and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel joined the network's 36 member advisory committee.
In 2006, Galeano signed a petition in support of the independence of Puerto Rico from the United States of America.
On 10 February 2007, Galeano underwent a successful operation to treat lung cancer. During an interview with journalist Amy Goodman following Barack Obama's election as President of the United States in November 2008, Galeano said, "The White House will be Barack Obama's house in the time coming, but this White House was built by black slaves. And I’d like, I hope, that he never, never forgets this". At the 17 April 2009, opening session of the 5th Summit of the Americas held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave a copy of Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America to U.S. President Barack Obama, who was making his first diplomatic visit to the region. This made the English language edition of the book go to No. 2 position and the Spanish version to No. 11 on the Amazon.com bestseller list.
In a May 2009 interview he spoke about his past and recent works, some of which deal with the relationships between freedom and slavery, and democracies and dictatorships: "not only the United States, also some European countries, have spread military dictatorships all over the world. And they feel as if they are able to teach democracy". He also talked about how and why he has changed his writing style, and his recent rise in popularity.
In April 2014 Galeano gave an interview at the II Bienal Brasil do Livro e da Leitura in which he regretted some aspects of writing Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina, saying "Time has passed, I've begun to try other things, to bring myself closer to human reality in general and to political economy specifically. 'The Open Veins' tried to be a political economy book, but I simply didn't have the necessary education. I do not regret writing it, but it is a stage that I have since passed." This interview was picked up by many critics of Galeano's work in which they used the statement to reinforce their own criticisms.
"Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that, one magical day, good luck will suddenly rain down on them – will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn’t rain down, yesterday, today, tomorrow or ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day on their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms. The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the no-ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way. Who are not, but could be. Who don’t speak languages, but dialects. Who don’t have religions, but superstitions. Who don’t create art, but handicrafts. Who don’t have culture, but folklore. Who are not human beings, but human resources. Who do not have faces, but arms. Who do not have names, but numbers. Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the crime reports of the local paper. The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them."
— Eduardo Galeano, "The Nobodies"
Las venas abiertas de América Latina (Open Veins of Latin America) is arguably Galeano's best-known work. In this book, he analyzes the history of Latin America as a whole from the time period of European contact with the New World to contemporary Latin America arguing against the European and later U.S. economic exploitation and political dominance over the region. It was the first of his many books to be translated by Cedric Belfrage into English. It is a classic among scholars of Latin American history. The book gained popularity in the English-speaking world after the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave it as a gift to U.S. President Barack Obama.
Memoria del fuego (Memory of Fire) is a three-volume narrative of the history of America, North and South. The characters are historical figures; generals, artists, revolutionaries, workers, conquerors and the conquered, who are portrayed in brief episodes which reflect the colonial history of the continent. It starts with pre-Columbian creation myths and ends in the 1980s. It highlights not only the colonial oppression that the continent underwent but particularly the long history of resistance, from individual acts of heroism to mass revolutionary movements.
Memoria del fuego is widely praised by reviewers. Galeano was compared to John Dos Passos and Gabriel García Márquez. Ronald Wright wrote in the Times Literary Supplement: "Great writers...dissolve old genres and found new ones. This trilogy by one of South America's most daring and accomplished authors is impossible to classify."
In New York Times Book Review Jay Parini praised as perhaps his most daring work The Book of Embraces (El libro de los abrazos), a collection of short, often lyrical stories presenting Galeano's views on emotion, art, politics, and values, as well as offering a scathing critique of modern capitalistic society and views on an ideal society and mindset. (The Book of Embraces was the last book Cedric Belfrage translated before he died in 1991.)
Galeano is also an avid soccer fan; in his childhood, Galeano had the dream of becoming a soccer player and this desire is the subject of some of his writings, among them Soccer in Sun and Shadow (1995), a review of the history of the game. Galeano compares it with a theater performance and with war; he criticizes its unholy alliance with global corporations but attacks leftist intellectuals who reject the game and its attraction to the broad masses for ideological reasons.
Galeano's Espejos (Mirrors) is Galeano's most expansive work since Memory of Fire. Galeano offers a broad mosaic of history told through the voices of the unseen, unheard, and forgotten. Recalling the lives of artists, writers, gods and visionaries, Galeano's makes "lore out of the mass of history and stories that make this world, and make us human." (Rick Simonson) Mirrors was published in the United States in English by Nation Books in June 2009.
Awards and honors
|Year||Spanish title||English translation|
|1963||Los días siguientes||The following days|
|1967||Guatemala, país ocupado||Guatemala: Occupied country (1969)|
|1967||Los fantasmas del día del léon y otros relatos|
|1968||Su majestad el fútbol|
|1969||La crisis económica|
|1971||Las venas abiertas de América Latina||Open Veins of Latin America (1973)|
|1971||Siete imágenes de Bolivia|
|1971||Violencia y enajenación|
|1973||Vagamundo (ISBN 84-7222-307-8)|
|1975||La canción de nosotros (ISBN 84-350-0124-5)|
|1977||Conversaciones con Raimón (ISBN 84-7432-034-8)|
|1978||Días y noches de amor y de guerra (ISBN 84-7222-891-6)||Days and Nights of Love and War (ISBN 0-85345-620-8)|
|1980||La piedra arde|
|1981||Voces de nuestro tiempo (ISBN 84-8360-237-7)|
|1982–1986||Memoria del fuego, (1, 1982, ISBN 84-323-0439-5)||Memory of Fire ISBN 0-394-54805-1 (v. 1)|
|1983||Guatemala: un pueblo en lucha (ISBN 84-85781-18-X)|
|1984||Aventuras de los jóvenes dioses|
|1985||Ventana sobre Sandino|
|1985||Contraseña (ISBN 950-9413-06-2)|
|1986||El descubrimiento de América que todavía no fue y otros escritos (ISBN 84-7668-105-4)|
|1988||El tigre azul y otros artículos|
|1988||Entrevistas y artículos (1962–1987)|
|1989||El libro de los abrazos (ISBN 84-323-0670-3)||The Book of Embraces (ISBN 0-393-02960-3)|
|1989||Nosotros decimos no (ISBN 84-323-0675-4||We Say No (ISBN 0-393-30898-7)|
|1990||América Latina para entenderte mejor|
|1990||Palabras: antología personal|
|1990||An Uncertain Grace: Photographs by Sebastiao Salgado with essays by Eduardo Galeano and Fred Ritchin (ISBN 0-89381-421-0)|
|1992||Ser como ellos y otros artículos (ISBN 84-323-0761-0)|
|1993||Las palabras andantes (ISBN 84-323-0814-5)||Walking Words (ISBN 0-393-03782-7)|
|1994||Úselo y tírelo (ISBN 950-742-542-X)|
|1995||El fútbol a sol y sombra (ISBN 84-323-0879-X||Football (soccer) in Sun and Shadow (ISBN 1-85984-848-6)|
|1996||Mujeres (ISBN 968-6719-51-2)|
|1997||Apuntes para el fin de siglo: antología (ISBN 950-860-055-1)|
|1998||100 relatos breves: antología (ISBN 950-860-066-7)|
|1998||Patas arriba: la escuela del mundo al revés (8432309745)||Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World (2000, ISBN 0-8050-6375-7)|
|1999||I Am Rich Potosi: The Mountain That Eats Men photographs by Stephen Ferry, text by Ferry and Galeano|
|2001||Tejidos: antología (ISBN 84-8063-500-2)|
|2004||Bocas del Tiempo (ISBN 9974-620-16-3)||Voices of time: a life in stories (ISBN 978-0-8050-7767-4)|
|2008||Espejos: Una historia casi universal (ISBN 978-84-323-1314-1)||Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone (2009, ISBN 1-56858-423-7)|
|2012||Los hijos de los días (ISBN 978-8432316272)||Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History (ISBN 978-1568587479)|
- Mark your calendars...... Octopus Books
- Fresh Off Worldwide Attention for Joining Obama’s Book Collection, Uruguayan Author Eduardo Galeano Returns with "Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone".
- Eduardo Galeano, "Where the People Voted Against Fear" January 2005 The Progressive
- Alfonso Daniels, "'Chavez TV' beams into South America" 26 July 2005 The Guardian
- Eduardo Galeano se recupera de operación El Universal, 11 February 2007 (Spanish)
- Interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, 5 November 2008 (video, audio, and print transcript)
- The Washington Times
- Audio and transcript of interview, May 2009
- Sounds and Colours
- Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor, by Paul Farmer, University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-24326-9, pg 1
- "Stig Dagermanpriset till Eduardo Galeano". sverigesradio.se (in Swedish). 12 September 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
- "I år går Stig Dagermanpriset till författaren Eduardo Galeano". webfinanser.com (in Swedish). 18 August 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Eduardo Galeano|
- Works by or about Eduardo Galeano in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Interview with Eduardo Galeano
- Sandra Cisneros reads "Los Nadies/The Nobodies" by Eduardo Galeano from Book of Embraces, El libro de los abrazos (1989) "".
- "'Voices of Time': Legendary Uruguayan Writer Eduardo Galeano on Immigration, Latin America, Iraq, Writing – and Soccer," Democracy Now! 19 May 2006
- "Reflections from Eduardo Galeano," The Leonard Lopate Show, 19 May 2006.
- "Writer Without Borders"—interview by Scott Widmer on In These Times
- "Author of the Month," Escritores.org
- The Guardian: Chávez creates overnight bestseller with book gift to Obama
- Eduardo Galeano Interviewed by Jonah Raskin by Monthly Review, October 2009
- Uruguayan Author Eduardo Galeano Returns with Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone – video report by Democracy Now!
- Haiti Occupied Country