Latin america

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  • Publicado : 23 de febrero de 2012
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Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. By Eduardo Galeano. (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1973. xiii, 305 pp.)
Eduardo Galeano began his career as a political journalist in his native country, Uruguay. He wrote for magazines and news paper and also published works of fiction. But he became most famous for his work, Open Veins of Latin America, which is adetailed account of the exploitation the Central and South American countries received from the dawn of Columbus’s discovery of the continent to present time by the capitalist countries. Galeano traces back hundreds of years, 5 five centuries, to explore the roots of his country’s and its surrounding neighbors’ economic backwardness and instability. The need for natural resources, new consumermarkets, and labor that came with the birth of the Industrial Revolution brought also the need for imperialist nations to dictate the social, economic, and political developments of these countries. Galeano goes farther back in history to describe the abuse experienced by the natives and rightful inhabitants of this continent and its riches during the earlier era of exploration and colonization. Thisbook caused a great deal of controversy by allowing a new perspective of history to be exposed. It was banned in Uruguay and Chile.
Having had his own share of struggles and experiences and witnessing the poverty and humiliation of his people, Galeano puts the greed and economic history of European capitalist nations as well as the United States under a harsh light. He reveals the way that thosenations’ prosperity relied on the plundering of Latin America’s resources and denying the native people economic freedoms. The riches of these lands are in the avaricious hands of industrialized nations who have removed them and used them to benefit their own development while leaving almost nothing for the Latin American people. Galeano directs attention to the economic policies that havealtered a continent’s history and hindered its growth. The industrialization could of powerful and prosperous countries like imperialist Britain and the United States could not have been possible without direct abuse and control of Latin America’s people and its resources. Through establishing free trade, dictators, unjust laws, trading ports, railroads, factories, etc. as well as through as throughlarge amounts of loans and investments, imperialist countries were able to dictate all aspects of Latin American society and steer them in any way they felt necessary to facilitate and enhance their economy. After five centuries of exploitation the continent is left in poverty and continuing backwardness because it was never allowed the opportunity to create its own industrial complex even though ithad all the resources and tools at hand.
Galeano’s argument focuses on discussing the fallacies of capitalism on Latin American progress. He describes why industrialization was not possible at a large scale in most of these countries and why they suffer from such backwardness. The pillage Latin American resources began with gold and silver in the 16th century. Conquistadors were marveled by thelarge quantities of gold of the Inca and Aztec civilizations. Their conquest for gold led to the establishment of mine cities such as Potosi, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas. Spain led this conquest and circulated these valuable minerals in Europe. The gold and silver taken from Latin America served as the capital accumulated to finance the Industrial Revolution of Britain. The Indians were forced towork in these mines under unsafe conditions. They were relocated to mining sites. Here, towns were built where prosperous Europeans enjoyed luxuries imported from Europe while they exported the gold and silver, leaving nothing to the Indians. When a mine was finished being pillaged, these places became ghost towns unable to get themselves back on their feet. And Indians were left with no jobs. But...
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