Thursday, October 21, 2010

plata o plomo

I recently watched this movie, and in it a DEA officer mangles this saying. His Spanish is so bad he says they were facing "plato o pluma"!! Talk about how accent can change meaning! Plate or pen. I'm still chuckling in horror about this. Dramatically less dire than bribe or bullet! If you want to be even clearer and aren't doing simultaneous, you could render this as 'take the bribe or take the bullet' - as Winifred Tate does in her fabulous book (2007, p. 49). This is a threat that was widely used on Colombian government officials by drug traffickers in the 80s.

Tate, W., 2007. Counting the Dead: The Culture and Politics of Human Rights Activism in Colombia, 1st ed. University of California Press.

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