Eduardo Galeano’s Book Soars to No. 1 after Being Gifted to Obama by Chávez

The Best Seller in a Matter of Hours

Open Veins of Latin America, a book by Eduardo Galeano, soared from No. 54,295 to No.1 once the Venezuelan leader gave a copy of it to his US counterpart at the Fifth Summit of the Americas.

The sales rank of the English version of Las venas abiertas de América Latina (Open Veins of Latin America) by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano soared to No. 1 in a matter of hours, according to YVKE Mundial, which was able to verify it this Saturday thanks to a group of Facebook (social networking site) users.  Its rise began after President Hugo Chávez presented a copy of the book to his US counterpart Barack Obama.

Las venas abiertas . . . was written by Eduardo Galeano in 1971.  It’s a book of chronicles and narratives that demonstrate the constant plunder of natural resources suffered by the Latin American continent through the course of its history from the 15th century till the final years of the 20th century, and it remains a reference book for anyone interested in Latin America.  The book is often quoted by Chávez.

The English Version, titled Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, was in 54,295th place on Friday in the ranking system of, one of the most popular online bookstores that allow credit card purchase and mail delivery.

However, this Saturday, by 11:57 AM in Venezuela, about four hours after Chávez’s official gift to Obama, the book had risen to the 288th in sales ranking; by the evening of the same day, it had become No. 1.

At Barnes & Noble, considered to be the second most important online store after Amazon, the book is in 183rd place, whereas on the 11th of April, according to the Google cache, its sales ranking was the 84,483rd.

A similar rise occurred when President Chávez, during his speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2006, showed Noam Chomsky’s book Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance, which shot up to No. 7 in sales, after being in 160,000th place.

Correction: Later in the day, VTV changed the article’s headline and text, now saying that Open Veins of Latin America rose to No.2, not No.1.

The original article “Libro de Eduardo Galeano subió al puesto Nº 1 tras ser regalado por Chávez a Obama” was published by Venezolana de Televisión (VTV) on 18 April 2009.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at]