Powerful Recommendations

Yesterday it was reported that Hugo Chavez gave Obama a copy of Eduardo Galeano's 1971 classic essay, The Open Veins of Latin America. In one day the book shot up from #53,249 at Amazon.com to #7.  I don't doubt the power of the media attention, but I can't imagine there would be enough copies of this book in print to justify it's being one of amazon's top sellers. Or maybe amazon simply doesn't sell as many books as we think. In any case, get the press rolling or that status won't last more than a couple of days because very quickly they'll run out of copies. Good for Galeano, he's a great writer. Truth be told, he's near of the top of my "overdue to read" list. I've read some of his essays and a short stories, but none of his major works. 
    It will be very interesting to see how Obama deals with Chavez, who, scratch the surface a little, seems to be perpetuating the long, sad tradition of caudillismo in Latin America. Last week he expressed most clearly his intention to wipe out all opposition to his rule. He's already pulled a coup with the municipal government of Caracas by creating a new position that effectively replaces the powers of the mayor, who he's opposed to. (In the photo, Galeano.)