Eduardo Galeano - Thoughts on the World

Michael Hoover hoov at
Thu Sep 12 22:17:05 MDT 1996

>  Eduardo Galeano -Thoughts on the World
>       Helen VATSIKOPOULOS, AUSTRALIA's roving Ethnic SBS TV inter-
> viewer- was thrilled to catch up with Uruguayan author and sage,
> EDUARDO GALEANO in MEXICO very recently. His spoken thoughts on
> the problems facing LATIN AMERICA and the world were these.....
>          "Perez, a primary school teacher, jailed and tortured for
> "ideological ideas", was visited one Sunday by his 5 yr old
> daughter. She brings him a drawing of some birds. The censors tear
> it up. The following Sunday she brings him some drawings of trees.
> The trees are not forbidden so they go through.
>          Her father praises the work of art and asks her about the
> many coloured circles that appear in the tree-tops and among the
> branches. "Are they oranges. What fruit are they?" The girl asks
> him to be quiet. "Silly, can't you see they are eyes -the eyes of
> the birds I have brought you secretly?"
>         On a wall in BOGOTA not long ago, I read a graffiti which
> read, "The cost of living goes up and up, and the value of life
> goes down and down", - which is probably an accurate description
> of the present situation. The problem for DEMOCRACY in LATIN
> AMERICA is that it cannot breathe freely and deeply. It can't
> breathe and grow as it should -to be able to go its own way. It is
> too caged up in, too confined by a whole power system, which can
> turn poor old DMOCRACY into a sad caricature of itself. (Pinochet
> and other 'generals' shown surrounded by their security screen).
>      Unfortunately throughout the world people put their trust in
> leaders and caudillos (political bosses), who they feel represent
> them. In many cases those leaders, those caudillos use people for
> their own advantage, and end up turning peoples' rights to their
> own power needs. (Ex-President Salinas and his cavalcade of
> heavily armed security pass by on screen) Technocrats kill at long
> range-similar to what happens with modern weapons, which are fired
> from a distance and you don't see the victims.
>      The situation today is such that people live under a state of
> perpetual threat, of constant fear. Everyone who has anything is a
> prisoner of fear, surrounded by the threat of those who have
> nothing. This has brought about an advent of ghettos for the rich
> who live behind the mediaeval fortresses of the electronic era.
> And so, those who don't starve to death, die of boredom and lone-
> liness. The prisoners who fare worst are the children, very poor
> children, who are legion, are treated like garbage; and sometimes
> thrown like garbage into rubbish tips.
>      In cities like BOGOTA and RIO DE JANEIRO, the police or para-
> police forces riddle them with bullets in the street. They're the
> very poor children -treated like garbage. The very rich children
> are treated as if they were MONEY. Here in MEXICO rich children
> are transported in strong-boxes, in the same kind of cars money is
> carried in.    (Question- In the context of LATIN AM, is it about
> widening the gap between rich and poor?) Answer .....
>         In LATIN AM for centuries there has been a trend in power
> towards confusing ECONOMIC freedom with PEOPLES' freedom. The
> experience of history shows us how, at least in these countries,
> economic freedom is not compatible with peoples' freedom.
>       It is said that the State must be privatised, and that seems
> to be the great slogan throughout the AMERICAS and probably the
> World. To privatise the State!!  The problem is that the State is
> already PRIVATE. The issue is not to privatise the State, but to
> de-privatise it so that the State becomes the true expression of
> Society, rather than an instrument of power in the hands of a few
> families who own the State in each country, and who convert
> citizens' rights into sanctions of power.
>       (Q. Increasingly we hear about NACO politics taking over in
> this part of the world. What sort of a stranglehold do they have
> over the system?)   Answer ..The Drug Trade has minimal influence
> over the main causes of violence in LATIN AMERICA. Latin Am
> functions as a school of crime. The school's principal is called
> "SOCIAL INJUSTICE". And among its main teachers is one called
> "Impunity of Power, and another called "Consumer Society". who is
> constantly telling the children, from TV screens, "if you don't
> have a car or brand-name shoes, you don't exist. You are nobody.
> You have no right to life." Is the Drug Trade a teacher in that
> school?. Maybe but of much less importance. It is not one of the
> main ones. Rather it uses the system as an alibi, in many cases to
> justify external intervention in our countries. (Q."To what extent
> does the future of LAT.AM depend upon the desires and power of US?
>        Answer-..Its not just the USA. The problem is becoming more
> universal -the socalled GLOBALISATION which means erasing the
> borders when MONEY is involved, but not when people are; which is
> the case at the MEXICAN/USA border, which disappears for money but
> not for people. Now its MONEY that has the freedom to choose,
> where it goes, in terms of the pitiful wages it can get away with,
> and of the licence to pollute -which it can buy. No wonder this
> border between MWXICO and USA is the most highly polluted area of
> the world. (Q..'We now have the situation with the US, which seeks
> to punish countries that deal with CUBA. This is relentless
> pursuit of Left Wing regimes?
>              Answer...CUBA has been punished for over 30 years for
> committing the crime of EXERCISING SOVREIGNTY, for having
> committed the unpardonable sin of wanting to be truly INDEPENDENT.
>      I would not say that the Left is a marvellous thing for LATIN
> AM. And undoubtedly its path is riddled with mistakes and in some
> cases murder. But to say that the Left is to blame for what
> happens here, you would have to make a huge leap. The Left is only
> minimally responsible for what happens in some Latin Am countries,
> but basically its the POWER SYSTEM which is to blame -a system
> which offers itself as our destiny, saying, 'I am absolute and no
> other system exists but me."
>          Whenever options or proposals for change appear, they are
> 'satanised' or 'demonised'. A new way is gradually emerging here,
> a new Left that is not in love with Death -regardless of what its
> enemies say -, which is strongly committed to PEACE, BUT PEACE
> WITH JUSTICE, which is the only true way to fight for DEMOCRACY,
> so that DEMOCRACY becomes real."   Mucho Gracias Eduardo.   JC

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