Eduardo Hughes Galeano (born September 3, 1940) is an Uruguayan journalist,writer and one of the most outstanding representatives of Ibero-American literature. His books have been translated into many languages. His works transcend orthodox genres, combining documentary, fiction, journalism, political analysis, and history. The author himself has denied that he is a historian: "I'm a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America above all and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia."
As many Latin American young boys, Galeano dreamed of becoming a football (soccer) player; this was reflected in some of his works such as El fútbol a sol y sombra (Football In Sun and Shadow). In his teens Galeano worked in odd jobs — as a factory worker, a bill collector, a sign painter, a messenger, a typist, and a bank teller. At 14 years old Galeano sold his first political cartoon to the Socialist Party weekly El Sol.
He started his career as a journalist in the early 1960s as editor of Marcha, an influential weekly journal which had such contributors as Mario Vargas Llosa, Mario Benedetti, Manuel Maldonado Denis and Roberto Fernández Retamar. For two years he edited the daily Época and worked as editor-in-chief of the University Press.
In 1976, when the Videla regime took power in Argentina in a bloody military coup, his name was added to the lists of those condemned by the death squads, and he fled again; this time to Spain, where he wrote his famous trilogy: Memoria del fuego (Memory of Fire ).
At the beginning of 1985 Galeano returned to Montevideo, where he continues to live.
Following the victory of Tabaré Vázquez and the Broad Front alliance in the 2004 Uruguayan elections marking the first left-wing government in Uruguayan history Galeano wrote a piece for The Progressive titled "Where the People Voted Against Fear" in which Galeano showed support for the new government and concluded that the Uruguayan populace used "common sense" and were "tired of being cheated" by the traditional Colorado and Blanco parties.
Following the creation of TeleSUR, a pan-Latin American television station based in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2005 Galeano along with other left-wing intellectuals such as Tariq Ali and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel joined the network's 36 member advisory committee.
Recently, on January 26, 2006, Galeano joined other internationally renowned figures and Latin American authors such as Nobel-laureate Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Benedetti, Ernesto Sábato, Thiago de Mello, Carlos Monsiváis, Pablo Armando Fernández, Jorge Enrique Adoum, Luis Rafael Sánchez, Mayra Montero, Ana Lydia Vega and world famous singer/composer Pablo Milanés, in demanding sovereignty for Puerto Rico and adding their name and signature to the Latin American and Caribbean Congress' Proclamation for the Independence of Puerto Rico, which approved a resolution favoring the island-nation's right to assert its independence, as ratified unanimously by political parties hailing from twenty two Latin American countries in November 2006. Galeano's demand for the recognition of Puerto Rico's independence was obtained at the behest of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP).
Memoria del fuego (Memory of Fire) is a three-volume narrative of the history of America, North and South. The characters are historical figures; generals, artists, revolutionaries, workers, conquerors and the conquered, who are portrayed in brief episodes which reflect the colonial history of the continent. It starts with pre-Columbian creation myths and ends in the 1980s. It highlights not only the colonial oppression that the continent underwent but particularly the long history of resistance, from individual acts of heroism to mass revolutionary movements.
Memoria del fuego was widely praised by reviewers. Galeano was compared to John Dos Passos and Gabriel García Márquez. Ronald Wright wrote in the Times Literary Supplement: "Great writers... dissolve old genres and found new ones. This trilogy by one of South America's most daring and accomplished authors is impossible to classify."
In New York Times Book Review Jay Parini praised as perhaps his most daring work The Book of Embraces, a collection of short, often lyrical stories presenting Galeano's views on emotion, art, politics, and values, as well as offering a scathing critique of modern capitalistic society and views on an ideal society and mindset. (The Book of Embraces was the last book Cedric Belfrage translated before he died in 1991.)
Galeano is also an avid football fan; Football in Sun and Shadow (1995) is a review of the history of the game. Galeano compares it with a theater performance and with war; he criticizes its unholy alliance with global corporations but attacks leftist intellectuals who reject the game and its attraction to the broad masses for ideological reasons.
Galeano is widely known for his memorable quote, regarding the civilian-military administration of 1973-1985: 'People were in prison so that prices could be free'