It’s long on blame.
“The Congressional Record of the United States is replete with irrefutable evidence of interventions in Latin America. Guilt-ridden consciences purge themselves in the imperial confessionals,” Mr. Galeano writes.
Mr. Galeano didn’t respond to e-mails seeking comment, but in an article on the book, the New Yorker magazine said that in later years the author described his work as one-dimensional.
It’s not surprising the book, published in 1971 and updated seven years later, has been re-evaluated over the past week, with dozens of new reviews being added to online booksellers’ Web sites. Being seen in two presidents’ hands will do that.
After Mr. Obama’s election, Mr. Galeano wrote a column laying out what he hoped for from the incoming president. The unsurprising list ranged from halting construction of a fence on the Mexican border and joining the Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gases to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and ending the embargo on Cuba.
However, Mr. Galeano closed with a personal challenge to the new president: “Will Obama, the first black president of the United States, realize the dream of Martin Luther King, or the nightmare of Condoleezza Rice? This White House, which is now his house, was built with the labor of black slaves. Let’s hope he never forgets that.”
In a recent interview, though, Mr. Galeano sounded nearly as disappointed in leaders such as Mr. Chavez. Without naming names, the writer harshly evaluated some of the leftist leaders who have emerged in the hemisphere.
“To give you a very current example, there are parties who come into the government promising a program of the left and wind up repeating what the right wing did,” he said in an interview with Jorge Majfud, translated and printed in Monthly Review. “History grows bored, and democracy is discredited, when we are invited to choose between one and the same.”
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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