School told me to write for a long, long time about the exploitation of other countries which I emphasize deeply for after learning about. So there’s a million ways to do that according to literary theory, of which I know nothing.
But then I go getting all personal on it and everything turns out not to be what standardized, water-down practice asks for. I go to shit, the paper goes to shit, and whoever reads it goes through shit reading it. “Keep your opinion out of it” Intellect should override emotion, but some of us are creative.
What I’ve gathered so far is about gold and silver. There’s more to it than that. Give me time, I’ll explain the best i know how. Gold and silver and Latin America. And hurt and pain and heartache, but those words do no justice for Galeano’s picture of suffering that people of Latin America has gone through; for what reason, other than that was the way history went. It just went that way, that’s the best we have to explain it?
Latin America is everything south of the United States from Texan boarder stretching west to California, east to the gulf. The land beneath it, including Mexico, Panama Canal, the Caribbean islands, from ________ that crosses the Equator the tip of South America that is _____________ miles away from Antarctica. (talk about an unimaginable amount of ground to cover for your averaged IQ commoner.)
I know Latin America exists because I was taught in grade school, that the Mayans lived there. The Aztecs, and Incas and great indian civilizations- I was told, prospered and created marvelous and mysteries yet to be unraveled today. This was reinforced in a college anthropology class, where we looked at tradition & kinship, and in Art History when we looked at majestic crumbling ruins and irrigation systems able to support an entire civilization hundreds of years before Europeans discovered how use that sort of system.
Here is where I talk about Columbus coming to the canary islands and that bastard coming back a second time with sugar cane. (damn, my bias.) The scramble to colonize Latin America. The European greed (there’s a good quote from Blood & Fire to use here) (Presenting Europeans in a non destructive light will be a challenge- that I don’t want to face, its hardly possible for me to get through this without some sort of bias. And the native innocence, were they? I hate my professor for saying its so easy just sit down and write it- when you’re naive as me- it ain’t that fucking easy. I need two more years of research and then, maybe then, I could present you with something worthwhile. Not before- at least that’s not what he’s expecting. So what am I worrying for.)
Now the scramble for Latin America within is happening and I must explain exploitation. In my own words….taking land from others for ________ gain. That’s wrong, wrong, wrong. I’ll look it up later. Did the Spaniards think Indians barbarians. That they could take what every they wanted because they could rain fire? And that gave them power? I define a few more words such as conquest and pillage and plunder and maybe refer back to the sheet of definitions way back when.
The Spaniards found gold in the Indian empire and it was theirs. Morals were different then…I suppose, if you could kill someone you did. Simply by desiring them dead. And the Spaniards must have, so they killed them all, and all that was the Indians was the Spaniards. They melted the gold down into bars. And took it back home. And funded a revolution, the Industrial Revolution. Maximized economies, Opened new markets, the possibilities were endless- as long as Latin America became a European Market.
What scary times. But times are always scary.
Silver was found by a man in pursuit of an escaped llama. The night came upon him and he sat down to start a fire. In its light he looked down and saw a “vein of pure silver.” Silver was found in many places in Latin America but one place in particular Galeano focuses on is silver in Bolivia’s city Potosi. Silver may exist today in Latin America but in Potosi it does not, “The spaniards swept the cracks with brooms” Although there are still people there who search for it, as a means to make anything short of what we call a dollar.
“The wealth flowed like water” with the silver in Potosi. But where was the money going- or, flowing? Most of it back to England, and hardly into the Spanish economy. Silver was sold to other places before it reached Spanish soil. Potosi’s wealth lasted as long as the silver was found, when it wasn’t, people began to leave. The wealthy left first, then others, and poverty befell the ones who stayed. Sometimes countries do not get to reap what nature blessed them with. Because men came with swords and no amount of peaceful words could keep greed from killing, nor the only disease to slaughter the defenseless.