Tuesday, July 29, 2008


beachhead: cabeza de playa

Well I for one wouldn't have guessed this would be a literal translation, but what do you know - it is. And yes, I agree with a recent El Tiempo editorial that "El presidente Uribe ha aceptado que Colombia se convierta en la Ășnica cabeza de playa que le queda a Estados Unidos en el subcontinente americano."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


token: cuota

I've often wondered how to say token, you know, the one woman on the panel, the one person of color, the one youth - not that aiming for diversity in our organizations is meaningless, but it can be counter productive when it turns into a de rigueur nod that doesn't question the underlying system of domination that makes it more likely that the panel will be a bunch of older white guys. Anyways, in Colombia the only Afro-Colombian in the cabinet is Paula Marcela Moreno, the Minister of Culture. She was recently asked in an El Tiempo article if 'se siente cuota de los democratas' (as in, was she appointed to appease US Congressional Democrats concerns about racism in Colombia and the far greater impact of the conflict on Afro-Colombians). Her answer was 'yo me siento cuota de Dios'. Odd.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


jaque: check

By now you must have heard of the spectacular rescue of Ingrid Betancourt, the three U.S. mercenaries (no, I don't think they should have been kidnapped, but by definition that's what they were, I consider 'defense contractor' a euphemism), and 11 military men. Of course I'm very glad they're out, but the timing of it was quite something. Coincidence that it came right after a particularly difficult week for Uribe? Last week the Yidispolitica scandal got blazing hot as the Supreme Court confirmed that indeed the Congressional vote that allowed him to run for a second term, that passed by one vote, was rigged and Yidis sold her vote. As in, though he won the second election, it was not legally held. And then there's the 'only in Colombia' bizarre Tasmania scandal. A former paramilitary thug named Tasmania was before saying that the supreme court was trying to get him to falsely accuse Uribe, but now he says that Uribe's men (his cousin Mario Uribe actually, who is in jail for parapolitics) got him to say that. If you can follow all of that back and forth, which I can't really. At any rate, it was looking hairy there for a few days for ol' Alvaro - but what do you know, now after this rescue he's the big hero. Since the infiltrators who pulled off the rescue had been in there for years, presumably Uribe called the timing. In case you had any doubts about what an amazing chess player the man is, he called it Operacion Jaque. And he took the Queen.

from Diccionario Espasa:
me dio jaque, he put me in check
tener/traer en jaque, to bother, worry

and of course check mate is jaque mate