The literary world is in mourning this morning following the passing of Eduardo Galeano in Montevideo yesterday. He was 74. Galeano was one of the best Latin American writers, denouncing foreign interferences in Latin America. He was a prolific writer who had conceived more than 30 books—the best one ever was The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of The Pillage of a Continent. Published in 1971, the book was immediately banned by the caudillos, the military generals who directed rightwing dictatorships in Latin America in the 70s.
Open Veins as the book came to be known could not entirely be subdued. Military repression has also contributed to its fame, and it became a canonical text, a sacred document in the struggle against neocolonialism, capitalism and US imperialism. The book went underground and was soon crown as one of the most-read underground literary works.
Eduardo was born in 1940 from a poor family in Uruguay. He had a humble beginning. His father worked at the service industry while his mother worked as a clerk at a bookstore. At a very young age, he became a contributor to El Sol, a socialist newspaper in Uruguay. From then on, he rose to prominence after the release of Open Veins. Although Galeano himself wanted a revised version of the book and publically expressed this desire, that did nothing to remove the everlasting fame of OV. Recently in 2009, then Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez gave a copy to President Barack Obama. Galeano’s passing can only be a major loss in the fight for social justice worldwide.