A tall, powerful antenna looks up to the sky from the Patagonia desert in
Argentina. It is part of a Chinese space station built there over 200 hectares.
A 2.5-meter high fence surrounds the area. The space station came with a promise
of a visitor’s center to explain its purpose.
alta potencia; looks up to the sky: apunta hacia el cielo; built there:
allí construída, erigida; a 2.5-meter high fence: una vallado de 2.50
metros de altura; surrounds the area: rodea la zona; came with a
promise: se realizó con la promesa; to explain its purpose: para
explicar el objetivo (de su construccion);
China’s space program, including the space station, is run by its military, the
People’s Liberation Army. The Chinese foreign ministry says the station in
Patagonia is for civilian use only and is open to the public and media. The
station became operational in April.
is run by: es
administrado por; its military: su ejército; People's Liberation Army:
Ejército Popular de Liberación (China); foreign ministry: ministerio de
relaciones exteriores (cancillería); for civilian use only: solamente
para uso civil; media: los medios de comunicación (TV, radio, prensa,
etc.); became operational: comenzó sus operaciones;
Chinese media have presented the station as a peaceful space observation and
exploration tool. They also say it played a key role in China’s landing of a
spacecraft on the dark side of the moon in January. The space station operates
with little oversight by Argentine officials.
pacífico; tool: instrumento; it played a key role: desempeñó un
papel crucial, muy importante; landing of a spacecraft: alunizaje de una
nave espacial; the dark side of the moon: la cara oculta de la luna;
little oversight: escasa supervisión o vigilancia; by Argentine officials:
por parte de los funcionarios argentinos;
That is the conclusion of international law experts who reviewed hundreds of
pages of Argentine government documents obtained by the Reuters news agency.
Visits to the station are by appointment only. Experts say the United States is
concerned about the station’s true purpose. That secrecy also has worried those
who live near the station.
peritos legales; reviewed: revisaron, examinaron; by appointment only:
sólo por cita previa; is concerned: está preocupado; true purpose:
objetivo verdadero; secrecy: reserva, velo de silencio; also has
worried those: también ha preocupado a quienes;
THE AGREEMENT WITH CHINA
The agreement to build the space station came in 2015, during the presidency of
Cristina Fernandez. Opposition lawmakers questioned why there was nothing within
the agreement that required the station to be for civilian use only. But, the
Argentine Congress approved the deal.
acuerdo; opposition lawmakers: los legisladores de la oposición;
questioned: cuestionaron; within the: dentro del; approved the
deal: aprobó el trato o convenio;
Former Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra said in 2016 that Argentina has no
control over the station’s operations. That year, she negotiated a new deal that
required it to be for civilian use only. But international law experts say the
deal does not provide a process for Argentina to make sure the station is not
being used for military purposes.
anterior; has no control over: no ejerce ningún tipo de control sobre;
that required: que exigía; to make sure: para asegurar; for
military purposes: para propósitos militares;
Argentina’s space agency CONAE told Reuters it has no workers based at the
station but CONAE members do make “periodic” visits and listen to radio
transmissions. But experts agree that the Chinese could easily hide data in
these transmissions. Juan Uriburu is an Argentine lawyer who worked on two major
Argentina-China joint projects. He asked, “How do you make sure they play by the
CONAE: Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales; has no workers based
at the station: no tiene operarios trabajando en la estación; could
easily hide data: podrían ocultar información fácilmente; joint projects:
proyectos conjuntos; how do you make sure?: ¿cómo nos aseguramos?;
they play by the rules: que ellos respetan las normas, acatan las reglas;
CONCERNS OVER SPYING
Garrett Marquis is a spokesman for the White House National Security Council. He
said the deal was “another example of opaque and predatory Chinese dealings”.
concerns over spying:
preocupación por el espionaje; spokesman: vocero; opaque and pedratory
dealings: manejos no transparentes y codiciosos;
Some radio astronomy experts say the concerns of the United States have been
overblown. Tony Beasley is director of the U.S. National Radio Astronomy
Observatory. He said the Patagonian station could, in theory, “listen” to other
governments’ satellites to gather data. But he added that could be done with
other equipment, too. “Anyone can do that. I can do that with a dish in my back
yard…” Beasley said.
ampulosos, rimbombantes; could in theory: podría teóricamente;
"listen" to other governments' satellites: "escuchar" los satélites de otros
gobiernos; to gather data: con el objeto de recoger información; with
a dish in my back yard: con una antena parabólica (instalada) en mi patio
Argentine officials have defended the Chinese station. They have said the
agreement with China is similar to the one it signed with the European Space
Agency (ESA). However, the law experts who examined the documents said there is
one notable difference: ESA is a civilian agency.
similar to the one
it signed: similar al que firmó; however: sin embargo; a civil
agency: una agencia civil (no militar);
“All of the ESA governments play by democratic rules,” Uriburu said. “The party
is not the state. But that’s not the case in China. The party is the state.”
Reuters asked CONAE, the local government and China’s embassy for permission to
visit the station. CONAE said it was not able to approve the visit, but said it
was planning a media day.
play by democratic
rules: acatan las normas democráticas; the party is not the state: el
partido político no es el estado; it was not able to aprove the visit: no
hubo posibilidad de aprobar la visita;
THEY DON'T LET YOU SEE
The space station is 40 minutes away by car from Las Lajas, a town of 7,000
people. Maria Espinosa, the mayor of Las Lajas, said 30 Chinese employees work
and live on the station. It employs no local people. Espinosa said she rented
her house to Chinese space station workers before they moved to the base. She
said she had visited the site herself at least eight times.
they don't let you
see: no te permiten ver; mayor: alcalde, intendente; it employs no
local people: no emplea a ciudadanos locales; rented: alquiló,
arrendó; at least: por lo menos;
Other than Espinosa, Reuters could not find anyone else in the town who had
visited the station. One local said his sister was among a group of students who
visited it last year. They saw an eating room and a game room, he said.
among a group: entre
(formando parte de) un grupo; eating room: salón comedor; game room:
sala de juegos;
Others in Las Lajas said
they rarely see anyone from the station. Alfredo Garrido is a shop owner in the
town. He said, “These people don’t allow you access, they don’t let you see.” He
says he believes the station “is not a scientific research base, but rather a
Chinese military base”.
they rarely see:
ellos rara vez ven; shop owner: comerciante; don't allow you access:
no te permiten ingresar; is not a scientific research base: no se trata
de una base científica de investigación; but rather a Chinese military base:
sino más bien una base militar china.
I’m Jonathan Evans. And I'm Ashley Thompson.