Latin American voters not seen toeing Catholic line
Artículos, Español III - IV:
Assignment: Find a news article in English about any of the 20 Spanish-speaking countries (see the list
at the bottom of this sheet). The Internet is the easiest place to find articles, but articles taken from an
actual newspaper are also acceptable. Articles must be from the week prior to the due date – older
stories will not receive credit. Write four or more Spanish sentences identifying the location and
summarizing important information about the article. Use no English whatsoever, including the
names of the countries.
Format: You may type or write your sentences by hand. It may be a good idea to use the following
format for your first sentence each time: “Mi artículo se trata de (name of country / topic) .” (My
article is about (location / topic) .”) Double-space your article sentences to leave room for
corrections. Submit one page only – you may write or type your sentences on the same sheet (front or
back) as the first page of the article, or just include the web address. Be careful to include accent marks
and other Spanish letters (ñ), or your score will be reduced for misspellings. Make sure to set the spell
check on your computer to Spanish. Errors that could have been detected by spell check will
cause an automatic 2-point deduction (the assignment is worth 5 points). See expectations letter for
e-mail submission policy.
Dictionary translations: Do not attempt to translate your article directly, or your sentences will not
make sense. Use simple grammar whenever possible, and avoid using the dictionary. Look up words
only when absolutely necessary to convey the meaning of your story. If you use a dictionary, you must
cite your source at the bottom of the writeup – for instance, if you want to say, “Criminals in Columbia
have many drugs,” and look up “criminals” and “drugs” in the dictionary, at the bottom you should write,
“Usé mi diccionario para buscar criminals – criminales y drugs – drogas.” If you prefer to use an
online dictionary, I recommend the website www.wordreference.com. Make sure you cite all words you
get from wordreference at the bottom of your writeup!
Article commentaries: Each semester, you must share the content of your article with the class at least
four times. Each time you make an article commentary, you will receive 5 points – neglecting to do
these commentaries has a significant impact on your grade, so remember to do them! Raise your hand
and give the basic information about your article in Spanish without reading directly from your
writeup. After your commentary, I may ask you a few basic questions in Spanish about the article.
Make sure you have read the entire article, not just the headline! Note: extra credit questions on
tests often come from your classmates’ article commentaries, so it is wise to pay attention and
ask questions if you don’t understand the content of a commentary.
Spanish is spoken by the majority of people in the following countries (English / Español). Be
sure to translate the country’s name into Spanish if the spelling is different than English – also,
remember that if you’re writing about a city such as Mexico City or Panama City, the Spanish city name
is La Ciudad de México / La Ciudad de Panamá, etc.
Spain / España
The Dominican Republic /
La República Dominicana
5) Mexico / México
8) El Salvador
10) Costa Rica
11) Panama / Panamá
12) Columbia / Colombia
14) La República de Guinea
16) Peru / Perú
**Remember that Spanish is not spoken in Belize, Brazil or Haití, and be careful not to confuse the
Caribbean nations Dominican Republic (Spanish-speaking) and Dominica (English-speaking).
See the back of this sheet for a sample article and writeup.
Latin American voters not seen toeing Catholic line
By Hilary Burke, Reuters: Tuesday, June 6, 2007; 8:30 AM
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Reuters) - The Roman Catholic Church holds great weight in Latin America, but voters
plagued by economic worries are largely tuning out the church's moral messages during elections this year. Scholars say
priests and bishops have no direct impact on how people vote in Latin America, home to half the world's Catholics. But the
church has ties to many political leaders and played a crucial role -- as friend and foe -- during the region's military
dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s. Since democracy returned, the church mostly has limited its activism to criticizing
libertine sexual mores and free-market economic policies that hurt the poor in the region, where four out of every 10 people
are poor. But many voters have opted to tackle poverty by electing left-leaning governments. And most ignore church
teachings on issues like premarital sex, birth control and abortion without engaging in a U.S.-style "family values" debate.
"People are more concerned with other things. Life is harder, so questions like that come a lot lower down the scale," said
Paul Freston, a sociology professor and Brazil specialist at Calvin College in Michigan. The Catholic church "wants to have
a moral influence and wants to give guidance on what people should take into account in deciding how to vote. But whether
anybody listens varies from place to place," Freston added. The world's two largest Catholic nations, Brazil and Mexico,
both have presidential elections this year. Mexican church leaders have met with the country's top three candidates in an
unprecedented show of political clout. During much of the last century, the ruling party was staunchly anticlerical; priests
were banned from voting, mentioning politics in sermons and even wearing their collars in public.
Artículo 1, 13 agosto 2007
Mi artículo se trata de la Iglesia Católica en América Latina. La iglesia quiere tener “influencia moral” en las
elecciones, pero la gente no les está escuchando a los líderes religiosos. La gente pobre prefiere elegir gobiernos
izquierdistas. Ellos creen que esos gobiernos ayudarán con problemas económicos.
Yo usé www.wordreference.com para buscar Catholic – (católico), leader (líder) y left-wing (izquierdista).
Note – many errors are caused by misuse of the passive voice (i.e. The police arrested the
criminals = active voice; The criminals were arrested by the police = passive voice). We’ll review this in
class soon. Until then, remember how to use it, or avoid it by switching passive sentences to active
The criminals were arrested by the Columbian police on Friday. (to arrest = detener)
Los criminales fueron detenidos por la policía colombiana el viernes.
Use preterit forms of ser for the passive was / were. The verb “arrested” in this sentence is a past
participle, used as an adjective. Form these by removing –ar / –er / –ir and adding –ado (-ar verbs) or –
ido (-er/-ir verbs). The participle (formado, detenido) must agree with the subject in number and gender:
The church was built by Peruvian immigrants. / La iglesia fue construída por inmigrantes peruanos.
The associations were formed in 1908. / Las asociaciones fueron formadas en mil novecientos ocho.
Please think when using the verbs morir (to die) and matar (to kill)! These are often confused.