It’s hard to know what to make of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, who prefers regional solidarity and social reform to appeasing a US-centric world economic agenda but doesn’t appear to have a coherent economic agenda of his own, more a make-it-up-as-you-go-along mix of expropriation, energy deals with Mugabe and, oh yes, badly organised coups d’état. (The good kind, of course, not the bad kind.)
But you can’t deny there are few other world leaders who would subsidise production of a $15 mobile phone and then name it after a willy. At least, many sources report that ‘vergatario’ is a slang word for a penis; the Telegraph merely says it ‘has its origins’ in such a term, while undermining its own credibility slightly by misspelling ‘vergatario’ three times in its brief story, next to the correctly cut-and-pasted version in a caption and a quote.* The Guardian says ‘verga is slang for penis and vergatario is a newly minted word which signifies excellent but retains connotations from its root,’ which begs the question: how does it signify that? I barely know enough Spanish to buy a bocadillo, let alone colloquial Venezuelan, but ‘-tario’ doesn’t sound like the kind of suffix that would be up to the job.
Over to The Raw Feed, where Hispanophone commenters are on hand to put their two pesetas in. Anonymous reckons ‘Verga in spanish is penis. Vergatario is more along the lines of the big dick.’ Anonymous (no relation) clarifies: ‘Vergatario in Venezuela means “Fantastic” or “awesome”. Maybe you are mistaken by the mexacan word “Verga” which means Penis in Mexico and Spain. :)’
I think Anonymous (still no relation) cracks it with his suggested translation: ‘It’s more a expression meaning “Fucking Awesome” than actually referring to someone penis.’ And he’s Venezuelan, so he should know. ‘[Chávez is] still the worst thing to ever happen to my country,’ he adds.
At least he’s directing some cash to improving digital communications, though, which is more than Jorge Brown seems inclined to do whenever anyone mentions broadband.