Posts Tagged ‘Spanish’

Fake News: El Presidente in Espanol (sort of)

April 21, 2009

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (April 20) – President Barack Obama wrapped up his attendance at the three-day Summit of the Americas Saturday promising greater cooperation and a new era of respect for our neighbors to the south.

The president acknowledged that his high-school Spanish “may be a ‘poco rustisimo’,” but still made a symbolic effort to communicate with most of the Latin American leaders in their native language. Some of the conversations may not have been quite what Obama intended, though State Department specialists were quick to step in with clearer interpretations where they were needed.

“Se me olvido mi cuaderno,” Obama announced to the cheers of assembled leaders. “La pluma esta en la mesa.”

Though literally translated to mean “I forgot my notebook; the pen is on the table,” U.S. ambassador to Mexico Ronaldo Lopez said that what the president meant was that the portfolio of past American tactics was being left behind, and that all parties could now work together to write new guidelines for the relationship.

The president asked those in attendance to bring a fresh perspective to how relations could progress between the increasing number of leftist governments in South America and the economic and social powerhouse to their north.

“Es esto la caja?” Obama asked rhetorically. “Es esto la lampara o la silla?”

By asking “is this the box?” and “is this the lamp or the chair?”, Ambassador Lopez said the president was requesting that delegates “think outside of normal conventions and consider whether it was more important to illuminate past differences or sit together and find similarities.”

“El arroz con pollo es la especialidad,” the president continued. “Yo quiero pina fria y una taza de café puro.”

“Yes, he did point out that chicken and rice is the special, and that he prefers cold pineapple and a cup of black coffee,” Lopez interjected. “I think what he’s trying to say is that agrarian reforms being carried out in large parts of the continent are producing better agricultural yields and addressing many nations’ chronic problems with hunger.”

“Para bailar La Bamba se necessito una poca de gracia. Los cuadrupedos viven en la tierra,” Obama told the crowd before boarding the presidential helicopter for his return to the airport. “Yo no tengo cortaplumas; no puedo cortar el papel. Nos disgusta mucho el ruido cuando queremos dormer.”

A look of exasperation crossed the ambassador’s face as he made his translation.

“I can only tell you what he said: ‘To dance the Bamba requires a little grace. The quadrupeds live on the ground. I have no penknife; I cannot cut the paper. We dislike noise when we want to sleep’,” Lopez recited. “I’ll leave that for the peoples of Latin America to understand for themselves.”