Eduardo Galeano (1940) is a Uruguayan journalist and writer. His most famous work, The Open Veins of America (1971), has been translated into over twenty languages. The following very short story is from his work entitled El libro de los abrazos (The Book of Embraces) (1989), a book of around 200 stories and prose ideas, nearly all of them less than one page.
During this time of Carnival in Brazil, enjoy the following short story about the place where all the excitement happens: Rio de Janeiro.
Chronicle of the City of Rio *
In the wee hours of the night in Rio de Janeiro, luminous, generous, Christ the Redeemer** spreads his arms. Beneath those arms the grandchildren of the slaves find protection.
A shoeless woman looks at Christ, from far below, and pointing to the glare, very sadly says:
“You will not be here anymore. They have told me that they are going to remove you from here.
“Don’t worry”, assures a neighbor woman. “Don’t worry: He will return.”
Many are killed by the police, and many more by the economy. In this violent city, the sounds of bullets as well as drums resound: the drums, eager for consolation and vengeance, call to the African gods. Christ alone is not enough.
*Translated from the Spanish by Andrés Alfaro
**Translator's note: Christ the Redeemer is a giant statue overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. It was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.