Category Archives: Translation

Bolivia’s Act of the Rights of Mother Earth (my translation)

laguna colorada






Article 1. (SCOPE). This Act is intended to recognize the rights of Mother Earth, and the obligations and duties of the Multinational State and society to ensure respect for these rights.

Article 2. (PRINCIPLES). The binding principles that govern this law are:

1. Harmony. Human activities, within the framework of plurality and diversity, should achieve a dynamic balance with the cycles and processes inherent in Mother Earth.

2. Collective good. The interests of society, within the framework of the rights of Mother Earth, prevail in all human activities and any acquired right.

3. Guarantee of the regeneration of Mother Earth. The state, at its various levels, and society, in harmony with the common interest, must ensure the necessary conditions in order that the diverse living systems of Mother Earth may absorb damage, adapt to shocks, and regenerate without significantly altering their structural and functional characteristics, recognizing that living systems are limited in their ability to regenerate, and that humans are limited in their ability to undo their actions.

4. Respect and defend the rights of Mother Earth. The State and any individual or collective person must respect, protect and guarantee the rights of Mother Earth for the well-being of current and future generations.

5. No commercialism. Neither living systems nor processes that sustain them may be commercialized, nor serve anyone’s private property.

6. Multiculturalism. The exercise of the rights of Mother Earth requires the recognition, recovery, respect, protection, and dialogue of the diversity of feelings, values, knowledge, skills, practices, skills, transcendence, transformation, science, technology and standards, of all the cultures of the world who seek to live in harmony with nature.



Article 3. (Mother Earth). Mother Earth is a dynamic living system comprising an indivisible community of all living systems and living organisms, interrelated, interdependent and complementary, which share a common destiny.

Mother Earth is considered sacred, from the worldviews of nations and peasant indigenous peoples.

Article 4. (LIVING SYSTEMS). Living systems are complex and dynamic communities of plants, animals, microorganisms and other beings and their environment, where human communities and the rest of nature interact as a functional unit under the influence of climatic, physiographic, and geological factors, as well as production practices, Bolivian cultural diversity, and the worldviews of nations, original indigenous peoples, and intercultural and Afro-Bolivian communities.

Article 5. (LEGAL STATUS OF MOTHER EARTH). For the purpose of protecting and enforcing its rights, Mother Earth takes on the character of collective public interest. Mother Earth and all its components, including human communities, are entitled to all the inherent rights recognized in

this Law. The exercise of the rights of Mother Earth will take into account the specificities and particularities of its various components. The rights under this Act shall not limit the existence of other rights of Mother Earth.

Article 6. (EXERCISE OF THE RIGHTS OF THE MOTHER EARTH). All Bolivians, to join the community of beings comprising Mother Earth, exercise rights under this Act, in a way that is consistent with their individual and collective rights.

The exercise of individual rights is limited by the exercise of collective rights in the living systems of Mother Earth. Any conflict of rights must be resolved in ways that do not irreversibly affect the functionality of living systems.




I. Mother Earth has the following rights:

1. To life: The right to maintain the integrity of living systems and natural processes that sustain them, and capacities and conditions for regeneration.

2. To the diversity of life: It is the right to preservation of differentiation and variety of beings that make up Mother Earth, without being genetically altered or structurally modified in an artificial way, so that their existence, functioning or future potential would be threatened.

3. To water: The right to preserve the functionality of the water cycle, its existence in the quantity and quality needed to sustain living systems, and its protection from pollution for the reproduction of the life of Mother Earth and all its components.

4. To clean air: The right to preserve the quality and composition of air for sustaining living systems and its protection from pollution, for the reproduction of the life of Mother Earth and all its components.

5. To equilibrium: The right to maintenance or restoration of the interrelationship, interdependence, complementarity and functionality of the components of Mother Earth in a balanced way for the continuation of their cycles and reproduction of their vital processes.

6. To restoration: The right to timely and effective restoration of living systems affected by human activities directly or indirectly.

7. To pollution-free living: The right to the preservation of any of Mother Earth’s components from contamination, as well as toxic and radioactive waste generated by human activities.



Article 8. (OBLIGATIONS OF THE PLURINATIONAL STATE). The Plurinational State, at all levels and geographical areas and across all authorities and institutions, has the following duties:

1. Develop public policies and systematic actions of prevention, early warning, protection, and precaution in order to prevent human activities causing the extinction of living populations, the alteration of the cycles and processes that ensure life, or the destruction of livelihoods, including cultural systems that are part of Mother Earth.

2. Develop balanced forms of production and patterns of consumption to satisfy the needs of the Bolivian people to live well, while safeguarding the regenerative capacity and integrity of the cycles, processes and vital balance of Mother Earth.

3. Develop policies to protect Mother Earth from the multinational and international scope of the exploitation of its components, from the commodification of living systems or the processes that support them, and from the structural causes and effects of global climate change.

4. Develop policies to ensure long-term energy sovereignty, increased efficiency and the gradual incorporation of clean and renewable alternative sources into the energy matrix.

5. Demand international recognition of environmental debt through the financing and transfer of clean technologies that are effective and compatible with the rights of Mother Earth, among other mechanisms.

6. Promote peace and the elimination of all nuclear, chemical, and biological arms and weapons of mass destruction.

7. Promote the growth and recognition of rights of Mother Earth in multilateral, regional and bilateral international relations.

Article 9. (DUTIES OF THE PEOPLE) The duties of natural persons and public or private legal entities:

1. Uphold and respect the rights of Mother Earth.

2. Promote harmony with Mother Earth in all areas of its relationship with other human communities and the rest of nature in living systems.

3. Participate actively, individually or collectively, in generating proposals designed to respect and defend the rights of Mother Earth.

4. Assume production practices and consumer behavior in harmony with the rights of Mother Earth.

5. Ensure the sustainable use of Mother Earth’s components.

6. Report any act that violates the rights of Mother Earth, living systems, and/or their components.

7. Attend the convention of competent authorities or organized civil society to implement measures aimed at preserving and/or protecting Mother Earth.

Article 10. (DEFENSE OF MOTHER EARTH). Establishing the Office of Mother Earth, whose mission is to ensure the validity, promotion, distribution and compliance of the rights of Mother Earth established in this Act. A special law will establish its structure, function, and attributes.

Refer to the Executive Branch for constitutional ends.

It is given in the Assembly Hall of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly, on the seventh day of the month of December two thousand and ten.

Sen. René Oscar Martínez Callahuanca



Dip. Héctor Enrique Arce Zaconeta



Done at the request of Brandon Keim. Apologies for my mistakes!

[Original – in Spanish]


McCain on Shutter Island

(From El Pais, translated from Spanish by me)

The two Republican politicians who lost the last U.S. election to Obama have had very different luck. The vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, seems to be on an unstoppable rise, pushed by the furious conservatives of the Tea Party. Her supporters cheer her as the next candidate for the White House. The 2008 Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, on the other hand, has been slipping, and most critics accuse him of losing his integrity.

A few days ago, McCain told Newsweek magazine, “I never considered myself a maverick.” It was a signal confirming the strange internal mutation that has occurred in the 73-year-old veteran Republican senator who has spent his entire career defending his radical independence as his defining characteristic. That attitude made him a rebel, almost a dissident in the Republican ranks. The old war hero, honest and incorruptible, did not hesitate to deviate from the party slogans if they conflicted with his principles and ideas. More >

Disaster Capitalism in Latin America

(Written by Manuel E. Yepe, translated from Spanish by me)

The two great disasters that nature had in store recently for Haiti and Chile, the no-less-sinister coup just a short time before in Honduras, together with the reaction of the superpower to these shocking situations, have raised justified fears that Latin America is fully involved in the application of the principles of the doctrine of disaster capitalism that writer, political scientist, and journalist Naomi Klein has denounced with so much international recognition.

According to this outstanding Canadian figure, capitalism has triumphed in the world not because people have willingly accepted the virtues of the market, but rather because the ground rules of that system have been imposed in the form of liberal market policies, especially in times of disasters prompted by or used as a pretext for them.  More >

Found in Translation: InterACT helps change science fiction to science fact

The Thai toddler cries and cries. Her father doesn’t speak any English, and the visiting American doctor barely knows a word of Thai. Still, the doctor asks, “What’s wrong?” A rugged laptop computer translates and speaks the Thai words. The girl’s father answers, “Her stomach hurts,” and the computer repeats it in English. In this way, the doctor is able to diagnose and treat the girl’s pain.

In a boardroom of a major company in Europe, four people enter. Each speaks a different language and they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to understand each other. Cameras on the wall recognize each person and track where they sit. Then, individualized audio translations of what others are saying are beamed to them without wires or headsets so that only they can hear.

In situations like these and many others, technology developed at the International Center for Advanced Communication Technologies is changing lives. More >

Unraveling Language

Maxine Eskenazi knows how much can depend on the meaning of a single word. While she was living in France, her French mother-in-law sent one of her American aunts a gift of delicate chiffon fabric. But the French have a different name for the sheer material—mousseline—while “chiffon” means “rag.” Eskenazi’s mother-in-law received, therefore, a well-intentioned note thanking her for the “nice rags.”
Such incidents, along with Eskenazi’s experiences teaching English in France, instilled in her a lifelong appreciation for the intricacies of language learning. More > (PDF p. 15)

Gonzales: ‘Pride and Deception’

Another translation from Colombian newspaper El Tiempo calls for the Latino leadership in Congress to ‘join the outcry’ for Alberto Gonzales’ resignation.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez: a ‘Terrible Betrayal’

“In a community so desperate for good role models, the ascent of Gonzales represented a double triumph: Not only would he be the first Latino Attorney General, but he would also be the first Latino to occupy one of the four positions of greatest influence in the presidential cabinet.

“Two years on … Gonzales hasn’t lifted a finger in defense of the Hispanic community.

“His record shows a noticeable tendency to erode minority voting rights.”

“The latest scandal in which Gonzales has been involved is the dismissal of eight federal prosecutors, in what appears to be a political purge of government officials who failed to adhere to the political agenda of the Republican Party.”

In what the paper calls the “most aberrant” case, U.S. Attorney Carol Lam was dismissed for allegedly neglecting cases of illegal immigration in San Diego in “her eagerness to prosecute real criminals.”


‘The luck of the ugly’

I have a new translation posted at of a column in El Tiempo, a Colombian newspaper. The U.S. show “Ugly Betty,” originally a Colombian telenovela, just won several Golden Globe awards, but some Colombians aren’t too happy about it. In the American version, Betty is the daughter of a Mexican immigrant.

The newspaper El Espectador mentions that this new version of “Betty la Fea” will go a long way toward transcending United States immigration policies: to portray the conditions of immigrants in a soap opera followed by tens of millions of U.S. citizens would assure a change in mentality and relax the legal difficulties and daily treatment of “ugly Betties” that hold secondary positions in the great corporations in New York, Miami and San Francisco.

What emerges in this soap opera is, however, the irreconcilable differences between the Mexican immigrants and American tycoons. It’s impossible that such mockery could lead to understanding.

And yet… the show is phenomenally popular worldwide. According to Wikipedia, the series has been adapted from Israel to India.