Brazil and Uruguay: Euphoria and Agony


  • Eduardo Galeano





Juan Perez used to work in a machine shop. He worked there for fifteen years, then the shop closed down. For more than a year now, Juan Perez gets up at five o'clock every morning to be one of the first in the lines of despairing people who, with newspaper under arm, are looking for work. Juan Perez has filled out five hundred job applications. He has found nothing. It is a common situation: in Uruguay many, many people are caught up in it—120,000 according to statistics. But actually there are many more. Besides, statistics do not fill empty stomachs. Juan Perez can leave the country, as countless workers have already done in an exodus of the dispossessed. Or he can view himself in the broken mirror offered by the ruling class, and arrive at the following conclusion: "I shall never amount to anything unless I screw the other guy." On the other hand, he can recognize himself in the tense faces of his downtrodden fellows and join with them to fight.

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