A photo of Eduardo Galeano by Jose Francisco Pinton. Licensed through Wikimedia Commons.

A photo of Eduardo Galeano by Jose Francisco Pinton. Licensed through Wikimedia Commons.


Eduardo Galeano, a preeminent writer who offered sharp social insight and political satire in unabashed prose died on Monday at the age of 74. The author of 30 books, Galeano extended his branches beyond his Uruguan roots, and came to be known as the voice of the Latin American Left. Below are some selected stanzas and quotes to remember a man who described himself as "the kidnapped memory" of Latin America, a "despised and beloved land:"

The Nobodies

"Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream
of escaping poverty: that, one magical day, good luck will
suddenly rain down on them – will rain down in buckets. But
good luck doesn’t rain down, yesterday, today, tomorrow or
ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter
how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is
tickling, or if they begin the new day on their right foot, or
start the new year with a change of brooms.
        The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The
nobodies: the no-ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits,
dying through life, screwed every which way.
        Who are not, but could be.

        Who don’t speak languages, but dialects.
        Who don’t have religions, but superstitions.
        Who don’t create art, but handicrafts.
        Who don’t have culture, but folklore.
        Who are not human beings, but human resources.
        Who do not have faces, but arms.
        Who do not have names, but numbers.
        Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the
        crime reports of the local paper.
        The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them." 
-- from Open Veins Of Latin America

“I think the purpose of the writer is to help us see. The writer is someone who can perhaps have the joy of helping others see.”
-- from an interview with the Argentine newspaper, Clarín

“The Church says: the body is a sin.

Science says: the body is a machine.
Advertising says: The body is a business.
The Body says: I am a fiesta.” 
-- from Waking Words