|Mr. President, tell us it isn't not so! Does he really want to eliminate Colombians' rights?|
I guess I supposed that I might just be imagining things - until I spotted this quote by Pres. Santos in today's El Tiempo, about protecting Colombians' rights in the wake of the controversial ruling by the International Court of Justice slashing Colombia's maritime territory in the Caribbean.
Did he really say this? Evidently, yes.
Did he really mean it? No. He meant exactly the opposite:
It's far from the Spanish language's only logical failing. Take the whole double negative thing, which in English would mean a positive - such as: 'No hay nadie en la casa,' which translated literally gives us 'There isn't nobody in the house,' meaning that there is somebody.
But that double negative has become officialized, institutionalized and sanctified in high school grammar texts. I'm just hoping that this 'Hasta no..,' construction never does.
English, of course, has its own grammatically nonsensical phrases, including 'I could care less.' People use it to mean they don't care, and should say what they really mean: 'I couldn't care less.'
Meanwhile, the dispute with Nicaragua just gets worse and worse. Colombia's withdrawal from the Pacto de Bogotá leaves the two nations with no common agreed arbitrator. Nicaragua will continue claiming the sea territory the court awarded it. And, as long as Colombia rejects the new sea boundaries, Nicaragua will undoubtedly continue claiming the San Andres Islands and keys, as it has for decades.
Those are the ingredients for an ugly international dispute, which has the potential to turn violent, and will surely cost Colombia international stature.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours