At Summit Obama interested in looking forward, while many live the past every day – El Salvador report
In their first ever meeting, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave US President Barack Obama a copy of Eduardo Galeano’s classic historical essay, Open Veins of Latin America. A best-seller in Latin America, the book is arguably the most complete history of imperialism in the region. And the move by Chavez represents the importance of understanding the context of the rise of the left in Latin America if you want to work with Latin America. But when Obama got to the podium, he announced “I didn’t come here to debate the past, I came here to deal with the future.” The most recent country to join Latin America’s leftist block is El Salvador, with the election of the FMLN’s Mauricio Funes to the presidency. Salvadoran anthropologist Ramón Rivas believes that the only way mutual understanding can be achieved is with a commitment to understanding the present, by learning the past.
Ramón Rivas is the Founding Director of the Museum of Anthropology at El Salvador Technological University in the capital of San Salvador. Originally from the department of Cabañas, El Salvador, Rivas received his doctorate in anthropology from the University of Nijmegen, in the Netherlands. He has served as dean of the El Salvador Tech´s Art and Culture School, and sat on El Salvador´s National Council for Culture and Art. He writes a weekly column in the Salvadoran newspaper El Diario Co-Latino.