Eduardo Galeano, one of Latin America’s most renown writers, died today at the age of 74.
The Uruguayan journalist and poet was the author of the seminal Open Veins of Latin America, an anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist history book that is still taught in universities throughout the hemisphere and is required reading among leftist intellectuals.
Penned in 1971, Open Veins provided a scathing and necessary criticism of U.S. policy in the region, at a time when many countries were ruled by Washington-backed dictatorships that had little regard for the poor. The book, which sold more than 1 million copies and was translated into a dozen languages, focused on Latin America’s historic underdevelopment and the extraction of its natural resources by foreigners.
Former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez famously gave a copy of “Open Veins” to Barack Obama during a regional summit in 2009, as an introduction to the history of U.S. intervention in the hemisphere.
But Galeano was more than just a critic of U.S. imperialism. The Uruguayan intellectual wrote beautiful essays on soccer, democracy, social movements, love, and gender issues, in a unique style that won him fans and accolades across the world.
In his graying years, Galeano’s thoughtful, comical and witty phrases became famous throughout the region. Here’s a quote that rings true with soccer fans across the world.
Here’s a quote on war, and how the U.S. ended up getting into Iraq: "War is sold with lies, just like cars are sold,” Galeano said.
Galeano was famous for his sincerity. Unlike many politicians in the region, he had the guts to speak from his heart and admit to his mistakes. During a book fair in Brazil last year, Galeano even acknowledged that Open Veins’ analysis of Latin America’s problems was too simplistic, because when he wrote the book he did not have the “necessary training” in political economy.
“I wouldn’t be capable of reading this book again. I’d keel over,” Galeano said. “For me, this prose of the traditional left is extremely leaden, and my physique can’t tolerate it.”
Following the news of his death today, Galeano’s fans all over the world, have been posting some of his timeless aphorisms on social media. Here are some nuggets of wisdom from the Uruguayan writer.
I hope we can have the courage to be alone and be brave enough to risk being together.
Many small people in many small places doing small things can change the world.
Power is like a violin. You take it with the left, and you play it with the right.
If Eve would've written the book of Genesis, how would the first night of passion of the human race turned out? Eve would've begun by clarifying that she was not made from anyone's rib, that she didn't know any serpent and that she didn't offer apples to anyone, and that God never told her that she would give birth with pain and that her husband would dominate her. She would've said that all of those were lies that Adam told the press.
I hope that we can be disobedient every time we receive orders that humiliate our conscience or violate our common sense.
Soccer is the only religion that doesn't have any atheists.
Manuel Rueda is a correspondent for Fusion, covering Mexico and South America. He travels from donkey festivals, to salsa clubs to steamy places with cartel activity.