With the passing of Eduardo Galeano, one of the Americas’ great voices fall silent, but his brilliance and wisdom echo on in millions of hearts.

In the 1970’s Galeano fled his native Uruguay, crossing many borders to escape the violence of military dictatorships. In his writing he boldly crossed literary boundaries to free the minds of his devoted readers.

After returning to Uruguay when the dictatorship ended in 1985, Galeano continued to travel up and down the continent, inspiring dissent and nurturing other voices. In 2006 he visited San Francisco to accept the Global Exchange human rights award.

“One writes out of a need to communicate and to commune with others, to denounce that which gives pain and to share that which gives happiness.”

Photo: Daniel Dabove

Photo: Daniel Dabove

Best known for his novels Memoria del Fuego (Memory of Fire) and Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina (The Open Veins of Latin America), Eduardo Galeano is considered an inspirational force behind the rise of progressive politics and the reclaiming of natural resources by the people of Latin America. Considered “the single most important literary voice to come out of Latin America in the last decades,” Mr. Galeano used the written word as a powerful advocacy mechanism to protect human and economic rights for the poor and to express his discontent with the historical and contemporary exploitation of Latin America’s people and land.

Transcending traditional genres, Mr. Galeano’s works embodied aspects of journalism, history, political analysis, fiction and social criticism. His outspoken critiques of injustice sparked responses from repressive regimes, forcing him to flee his native Uruguay and later Argentina after coups-de-etat placed dictators in power during the 1970’s. Living and working in exile for over 10 years he was finally able to return to Montevideo in 1985.

Mr. Galeano began his career as a journalist, becoming the editor-in-chief of Marcha at the age of 20. His novels have been translated into over 20 languages and he was honored twice with the prestigious Casa de las Américas prize for La Canción de Nosotros (Our Song) in 1975 and again in 1978 for Días y Noches de Amor y de Guerra (Days and Nights of Love and War).