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"I am just like Stalin," Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said. Today's Mexican daily La Razonfeatured the shockingly proud comparison to the Soviet dictator, which the Venezuelan president made during a visit to the Caracas Book Fair on Thursday.

"And here they have a copy of Stalin: History and Critique of a Black Legend," Maduro said in front of reporters. "Stalin is like me. The moustache is exactly the same. Comrade Stalin who beat Hitler."

The latest controversy for Hugo Chavez's successor comes amid increasing crackdowns against opposition leaders in Venezuela. Washington has responded by calling the regime in Caracas a threat to U.S. national security. Some in Latin America have criticized the Obama administration for the new hard line.

Maduro's remarks about Joseph Stalin, whom history largely regards as a mass murderer of his own people as well as an active imperialist internationally, are sure to offer more fodder for those both at home and abroad looking to put more pressure on Caracas.

About the Source: La Razon is a tabloid-format daily published in Mexico City, and directed by Rubén Cortés Fernández.

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Coronavirus

Masks And Me: Take This Pandemic Story At Face Value

Even if COVID cases are rising again, the author isn't ready to mask up again. But she's also not quite ready to say goodbye forever...

Photo of someone holding a surgical mask

Hold on to your mask. For COVID, or maybe the flu? And then there are the memories...

Emma Albright

-Essay-

PARIS — Waiting in line at the pharmacy the other day, I heard a customer ask for a COVID-19 test. The pharmacist let out a long sarcastic sigh: “We’re still doing those?”

Of course they are, as cases are again rising ahead of winter here in France and many other places around the world. But the true sign of the depth of our collective COVID fatigue were the masks at the pharmacy. That is, there were none, not even the pharmacist was wearing one, even if a sign hangs in front saying they’re required.

The regular announcements that have begun airing again on French radio about the importance of masks in containing the virus sound beside the point. Indeed, wearing masks is no longer a requirement anywhere in France, merely a suggestion.

Still, masks have by no means gone away, either in society, or my mind. That becomes clearest when I’m riding the metro in Paris. As I count the ratio of masked to non-masked, and hear the daily announcements on the benefits of wearing one, a dilemma starts to creep in…

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