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Even Galeano dissociated himself from this unimpressive work
on 29 September 2015
Galeano repudiated this book shortly before he died, saying he had not really had the knowledge required to write this economic history of a continent and that he did not like the style.
This was the perfect excuse for me to give up halfway through as I had found it unoriginal and outdated.
After all, if the author himself disowned it why should the reader make the effort?
Its mixture of history and accounts of personal visits to some of the place mentioned reminded me of a television documentary in which the presenter tries to make history seem more "real".
More seriously, it paints an oversimplified version of greedy monarchies in Spain and Portugal, in cahoots with the hypocritical Catholic Church, ganging up on the defenseless Indians and exploiting them and their resources.
The Americans, of course, are now the main targets and Galeano was a big Fidel Castro fan when he wrote this. Some of his comments on the "achievements" of the Cuban revolution are like the apologias made by admirers of the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 30s, backed up by statistics on tractor production and literacy rates.
If you know South America, then you will be familiar with the view that outsiders are to blame for all the problems even though most countries have been independent for centuries*. It is never the fault of the Brazilians, Argentinians, Colombians etc. but the gringos.
Maybe it's time that those South Americans who blame outsiders for all their problems asked why they themselves have done so little for the continent. However, there is no chance of that happening, believe me.
*In fact the only place on the South American continent that is not independent is French Guinea.