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EL ESPECTADOR

When A Transsexual Runs For Mayor In Small-Town Colombia

Meet Alondra Metaute, a 38-year-old woman who wants to shake up a sleepy Colombian town.

Alondra Metaute in front of the Sopetran town hall
Alondra Metaute in front of the Sopetran town hall
Róbinson Úsuga Henao

SOPETRÁN — Alondra Metaute, a 38-year-old Colombian woman, wants to be mayor of this small town in northcentral Colombia. But she will face a hard fight to win the election next October — not just because she's a woman, but because she was born a boy.

When Fredy Armando Metaute Escudero was eight years old, he wore lipstick to his school's annual party, and dressed as the late Mexican singer Rocío Durcal. He did not go unnoticed. In this town, few people dared at any age to reveal a non-comforming sexual orientation, never mind a desire to change genders.

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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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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