THE OPEN VEINS OF LATIN AMERICA: FIVE CENTURIES OF THE PILLAGE OF A CONTINENT – EDUARDO GALEANO
“Our defeat was always implicit in the victory of others; our wealth has always generated our poverty by nourishing the prosperity of others – the empires and their native overseers. In the colonial and neocolonial alchemy, gold changes into scrap metal and food into poison.” – Eduardo Galeano, The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent
I picked up Open Veins of Latin America as my second adventure into Galeano’s writing. This book gained a boost of popularity, skyrocketing to #2 on Amazon’s best seller list, after Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez gave the book to Barack Obama during an April, 2009 visit. It was a bit of a departure from Days and Nights of Love and War as it was intended to be more of a historical commentary than the prior. It did hold much of the same passion, however. Open Veins was more difficult read, taking me me nearly two months to finish.
A warm desert night closing in and the two days of sleep deprivation from the Greyhound wearing on us, we set out to find a place to sleep in Palm Springs. Walking the nearly deserted streets Bob and I found a large dirt lot across the railroad tracks that looked dark and inconspicuous. Near the eastern end of the lot were stacks of giant cement pipes that looked like a good place to roll out for the night. Spotlights in the distance and the echoes of amplified music told us that the Coachella music festival was in full swing not far away. A gruff “Can I help you?” erupted from one of the tubes as I started to climb in. We weren’t the only ones who thought they were a good place to hide out for the night. I don’t generally like to sleep in proximity to people I don’t know on the road, so Bob and I abandoned the idea of sleeping in the pipes and set out in search of another place. Soon we found another vacant lot next to a mini mart, and a hollowed out space under a clump of small trees that kept us out of sight of the road. The area didn’t have any signs of recent residents so we rolled out our sleeping bags, bought some beer from the mini mart and retired to our cozy tree-tent for the night.