Posts Tagged ‘Eduardo Galeano’

The Boring Veins of Latin America

Friday, May 9th, 2014

It took Eduardo Galeano 44 years to figure out his own book was boring, poorly written bs; it took me 20 minutes. Years later, Hugo Chavez gifted it to Obama,

“This will go a long way towards permanently curing your insomnia, Barack.”

“The open veins of Latin America” is a boring undocumented book, admits his author
Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano said in an interview published on the Argentine newspaper Perfil.com that he considers his 1971 book “The Open Veins of Latin America”, by far his best-known work, to be so bad he will no longer read from it during public appearances.

The book and Galeano are frequently quoted in songs, films and books, and since the 1997 edition has a prologue from the Chilean author Isabel Allende. Galeano, whose real birth name is Eduardo Hughes Galeano (in Spanish first name is father’s and second mother’s), and now a comfortable board member of pharmaceutical labs in Uruguay, thus joins a list of Latin American left wing intellectuals who after having influenced with ideology whole generations don’t feel comfortable with some of their most emblematic works.

But fear not, Latin American Studies programs will continue to have it in their curricula.

And, while I appreciate your buying through my blog’s Amazon links, don’t bother buying The Open Veins of Latin America. Read this instead.

The “not MY fault” angle

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

I have an article on the Festivus Summit of the Americas coming up at Real Clear World, but in the meantime, I’m glad Gay Patriot West and William Jacobson noticed something a friend and I were talking about yesterday:

Bloomberg news reports the following statement by Barack Obama in his speech at the Summit of the Americas, after Daniel Ortega had spent an hour ripping into the U.S. (emphasis mine):
“You can’t blame the U.S. for every problem in this hemisphere,”Obama said. “I am very grateful that President Ortega didn’t blame me for things that happened when I was three months old.”

I’m not going to focus on the refusal to defend his country, or to give it back to the suppressors of freedom such as Chavez and Ortega. Many others are proving that point.

The words which jumped out at me were Obama’s hope that he wouldn’t be blamed “for things that happened when I was three months old.” That phrase is similar to the analysis Obama used to excuse his friendship, and political coordination early in his career, with domestic terrorist bomber William Ayers. Obama excused the relationship because Ayers’ crimes were committed when Obama was just eight years old (emphasis mine):

“Mr. Ayers is somebody who lives in Chicago. He’s a professor at the University of Chicago, Illinois, teaches education, and he engaged in these despicable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old. I served on a board with him.”

There is something truly bizarre about this reasoning. If something happened when Obama was not of a certain age (we know it is at least eight years old, although we don’t know where the line is drawn) then he accepts no responsibility. That is fine if one is talking about personal responsibility only. Obama is no more responsible on a personal level for what others did, be it yesterday or 30 years ago, than anyone else.

But Obama no longer is “anyone else.” Obama is the President and bears the burden of dealing with accusations and attacks on this country related to events which did not take place on his watch.

If Obama agreed with the attacks by Ortega, Chavez and others, then Obama should have had the guts to say so, and dealt with the domestic consequences. That would have been brave. If Obama didn’t agree, then he should have had the guts to stand up for his country then and there, in front of the tyrants. That would have been even braver.

The one option no longer available to President Obama is to hide behind his narcissistic view of his own personal responsibility. That is cowardly. The presidency is bigger than the person, and only a big person realizes and accepts that fact.

The reaction was similar when Chavez handed Obama the Marxist screed, The Open Veins of Latin America. Obama’s reaction was

When a reporter asked Obama what he thought of the book Chavez gave him, the president replied: “I thought it was one of Chavez’ books. I was going to give him one of mine.”

That comment shows two things,
a. Obama’s neophyte status allowed him to miss Chavez’s subtext, which was that of showing Obama “How ignorant are you” by gifting him this book in Spanish.
and b. Obama looking at the exchange in narcissistic terms.

But hey, Obama wasn’t born when the deeds mentioned in the book were taking place, so he’s in the clear, as far as he’s concerned.

UPDATE
Via Larwyn, Can We Get Beyond Race?

A common denominator with Obama’s easy emphasis on racial divides—when juxtaposed to past evocation abroad of his Muslim sensitivities and middle name, serial apologies about American sins and pathologies, and constant denunciation of his predecessor—is a sense that the past tradition of America is culpable and therefore not his own—made explicit in his response to Daniel Ortega’s diatribe that he was just three months old during the Bay of Pigs troubles, and by extension not responsible for American transgressions. Again, separately all these new approaches are in themselves understandable, but in the aggregate they form a disturbing pattern seen earlier with the off-handed remarks about “typical white person,” the stereotyping of rural Pennsylvanians along lines of class and race, and the 20-year long patronage of a clearly racist preacher.

At some point, Obama needs to take a hiatus from this racialist identification, and, like a Sec. Condoleezza Rice, transcend race, let achievements and policies speak for themselves, and thus rise or fall on the content of his own character.

What was I doing in 2004?