In Memory of Fire, Part Three: Century of the Wind, Eduardo Galeano focuses on Latin American culture and politics in the twentieth century. The author develops three distinct themes but also shows the considerable overlap among them. Galeano portrays the modern era as an age of revolution. The pattern of radical changes in political power began to be established in late 18th-century colonial uprisings, which he covers in previous volumes. However, the 20th century revolutions arise through popular movements that reject repression by national elites. Among the examples that develop this theme are the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and the Nicaraguan Revolution two decades later.
A second, contrasting theme is the harmful effects of foreign imperialism. Galeano, like many other leftist intellectuals of his time, is highly critical of the US role, especially since the Spanish American War at the turn of the twentieth century. The lasting effects of the Monroe Doctrine accelerated with the World Wars and especially in the Cold War Era. Critiquing US proprietary attitudes toward Latin America as its backyard, the author raises concerns about the squelching of national self-determination. He points to such cases as the US invasion of Mexico in the 1900s and the CIA’s role in overthrowing Salvador Allende in Chile in the 1970s.
A third theme that often positive aspects of Pan-American interaction is the field of culture and politics. Galeanos repeatedly shows the cultural diversity and resilience of the multiple heritages of Latin American people. Beyond the contributions of elite intellectuals, however, he stresses the contributions of everyday people. Overtly political manifestations of culture receive special attention, notably Diego Rivera and the Mexican muralists.