Eduardo Galeano, the world-renowned leftist Uruguayan journalist and writer made famous with the publication in 1971 of his book The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, died today at the age of 74 in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he lived. Long admired as a journalist, with his three-volume Memory of Fire in 1982, Galeano also became known as a writer of non-fiction prose who might be compared to writers of fiction such as Gabriel García Márquez, author of the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, or Isabel Allende who wrote House of the Spirits. Like their novels, his trilogy captures the real spirit of Latin America’s magical history.
Born Eduardo Germán María Hughes Galeano in Montevideo on September 3, 1940, Galeano began his career as a journalist in the early 1960s working as a correspondent for Sol and then as an editor for Marcha, which published such writers as Mario Vargas Llosa and Mario Benedetti. When a rightwing military coup took power in Uruguay in 1973, Galeano was jailed and subsequently went into exile, first in Argentina, where he edited Crisis, and then in Spain where he wrote his trilogy Memory of Fire (Genesis, Faces and Masks, and Century of the Wind). Memory of Fire mixed history and journalism in vignettes and biographical sketches written in a creative prose style that reminded American readers of John Dos Passos’ 1930s classic U.S.A. trilogy.
Open Veins of Latin America was a detailed, systematic, and sustained attack on European and U.S. imperialism in Latin America over five centuries...