This past Saturday, at the Summit of the Americas, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez handed President Barack Obama a copy of Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Eduardo Galeano. The hand-off created an instant literary sensation, from the New York Times to the Huffington Post, jumping with the news of Chávez’s book recommendation. The Associated Press reports:
In front of photographers, Chávez gave Obama a copy of “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent,” a book by Eduardo Galeano, which chronicles U.S. and European economic and political interference in the region.
When a reporter asked Obama what he thought of the book, the president replied: “I thought it was one of Chávez’ books. I was going to give him one of mine.” White House advisers said they didn’t know if Obama would read it or not.
Open Veins is published by Monthly Review Press, which is distributed by NYU Press.
Here’s the video of the exchange of literary matter between world leaders: