America or the United States?

Amancay Tapia

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Along the way we have even lost the right to call ourselves Americans, although the Haitians and the Cubans appeared in history as new people a century before the Mayflower pilgrims settled on the Plymouth coast. For the world today, America is just the United States; the region we inhabit is a sub-America, a second-class America of nebulous identity. Eduardo Hughes Galeano, The Open Veins of Latin America.

Eduardo Galeano, who is less known than other titans of Latin American literature, sought to evoke a common identity for the peoples of a continent and that quote from his book Open Veins of Latin America is a clear example.

The book was first published in 1971 and even though Galeano already had several books to his name, the book made him an international star.

However, many years late and towards the end of his life, Galeano would say,

‘Open Veins’ tried to be a book of political economy, but I didn’t yet have the necessary training or preparation. I wouldn’t be capable of reading this book again; I’d keel over. For me, this prose of the traditional left is extremely leaden, and my physique can’t tolerate it

I read this book when I was 17 years old and I must say I was fascinated. Then again, I was also very young and like Galeano when he wrote it, a dreamer who thought the world could be a better place if only we were all fair, kind, beautiful.

Inspired by Eduardo Galeano's book, I made the above film which played at the HBO New York Latino film festival in 2005.

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