Open Veins of Latin America


  • Our part of the world, known today as Latin America, was precocious: it has specialized in losing ever since those remote times when Renaissance European ventured across the ice and buried their teeth in the throats of the Indian civilizations (1).
  • The taxes collected by the buyers are much higher than the prices received by the sellers; and after all, as Alliance for Progress coordinator Covey T. Oliver said in July 1968, to speak of fair prices is a “medieval” concept, for we are in the era of free trade (1).
  • Our defeat was always implicit in the victory of others; our wealth has always generated our poverty by nourishing the prosperity of others- the empires and their native overseers. In the colonial and neocolonial alchemy, gold changes into scrap metal and food into poison (2).
  • Potosi, Zacatecas, and Ouro Preto became desolate warrens of deep, empty tunnels from which the precious metals had been taken; ruin was the fate of Chile’s nitrate pampas and of Amazonia’s rubber forests. Northeast Brazil’s sugar and Argentina’s quebracho belts, and communities around oil-rich Lake Maracaibo, have become painfully aware of the mortality of wealth which nature bestows and imperialism appropriates (2-3).
  • —Is the curse of our multitudes condemned to exist as beasts of burden (3).
  • The oppressor countries get steadily richer in absolute terms—and much more so in relative terms—through the dynamic of growing disparity (3).
  • Harnessed as they have always been to the constellation of imperialist power, our ruling classes have no interest whatsoever in determining whether patriotism might not prove more profitable than treason, and whether begging is really the only formula for international policies (3-4).
  • In the eye of this hurricane 120 million children are stirring (4).
  • Latin American children obstinately continue getting born, claiming their natural right to a place in the sun in these magnificent lands which could give to all what is now denied to almost all.
  • Latin America’s population grows as does no other: it has more than tripled in half a century (4).
  • Our youth multiplies, rises, listens: what does the voice of the system offer? (7)
  • Is everything forbidden us except to fold our arms?  (7)
  • Poverty is not written in the stars; underdevelopment is not one of God’s mysterious designs (7)
  • History is a prophet that looks back: because of what was, and against what was, it announces what will be (8).
  • “Fertile Sacrifices”

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