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Economy

In Search Of Unity On Latin America Trade

With the region still divided into different trading blocs, Chile is leading efforts to bring Latin American nations together for a joint policy to expand global trade.

The world within reach in Punta Arenas in southern Chile
The world within reach in Punta Arenas in southern Chile
Laura Villahermosa

SANTIAGO Since becoming Chile's president a second time and since her first meeting with the heads of state for the Pacific Alliance — Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru — Michelle Bachelet has insisted on the importance of moving closer to a separate, but parallel, Latin American trade alliance known as the Mercosur bloc.

But in Lima, there is skepticism about growing closer to this subregional bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. César Peñaranda, executive head of the Peruvian business development institute known as IED, believes that "annexing" Brazil and Argentina into the Pacific Alliance would dilute it and hinder its progress.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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