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Eugene Robinson just won a Pulitzer, but like most commentators he doesn’t seem to have read the book, Open Veins of Latin America, by Eduardo Galeano, a copy of which Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez recently gave to Barack Obama. In today’s Washington Post, he writes, “Chávez’s gift of the book was meant to affront, not to enlighten, and I would have advised Obama to reciprocate in kind.”
Open Veins is a polemic, but it’s interesting history and not terribly controversial if you happen to live in Latin America. Here’s Time magazine’s nutshell review:
Galeano’s book is a well-researched historical account and, while it does include quotes by Karl Marx, the author’s left-leaning perspective does not rob the book of value. It’s perhaps overly dense with fact after fact after fact — the author doesn’t zoom out often — but the book still makes a convincing argument that Latin America was a victim of European and American exploitation. This is not a difficult case to make when you’re talking about colonialism. But with leftist leaders like Chavez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales assuming power of 21st century Latin American governments, it’s important to understand how they think we got here and who they hold responsible.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Discussed in this essay:
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt. 352 pages. $28.
The extinction symbol is a spare graphic that began to appear on London walls and sidewalks a couple of years ago. It has since become popular enough as an emblem of protest that people display it at environmental rallies. Others tattoo it on their arms. The symbol consists of two triangles inscribed within a circle, like so:
“The triangles represent an hourglass; the circle represents Earth; the symbol as a whole represents, according to a popular Twitter feed devoted to its dissemination (@extinctsymbol, 19.2K followers), “the rapidly accelerating collapse of global biodiversity” — what scientists refer to alternately as the Holocene extinction, the Anthropocene extinction, and (with somewhat more circumspection) the sixth mass extinction.
Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:
Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.
Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.
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Science’s crisis of faith