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Chavez's gift to Obama becomes bestseller overnight

A book that was presented to US President Barak Obama by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at a regional leaders' summit here, rocketed to bestseller status overnight on the online bookstore Amazon.com.

books Updated: Apr 20, 2009 10:02 IST

A book that was presented to US President Barak Obama by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at a regional leaders' summit here, rocketed to bestseller status overnight on the online bookstore Amazon.com.

The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, was presented to Obama in a friendly gesture by the Venezuelan leader at the Fifth Summit of the Organisation of the Americas (OAS). The book is about Latin America's colonial past.

The copy had a dedicatory note handwritten by Chavez: Para Obama con afecto (To Obama with affection).

The publicity about the gift helped propel its English version from relative obscurity to No.10 on the Amazon.com list of bestsellers. The book also topped Amazon's Movers and Shakers - a list of the biggest gainers in 24 hours.

After receiving the gift Friday, Obama jokingly said he thought it was a book written by Chavez.

When asked by reporters if the encounters with Chavez were paving the way for a meeting, Obama responded: "I think we're making progress at the summit."

The book was first published in 1971 and has been reissued in several new editions since then. One of the reviewers of the book described it as a "passionate account of 500 years of Latin American history, written with drama, humor, and compassion".