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EL ESPECTADOR

For Trump and Rubio, 'Fixing' Venezuela Is A Recipe For Votes

The aggressive Republican stance on Venezuela reflects an attempt to seduce Latino voters in Florida.

Senator Marco Rubio speaks about Venezuela at rally in Miami, Florida on Feb. 18, 2019
Senator Marco Rubio speaks about Venezuela at rally in Miami, Florida on Feb. 18, 2019
Alvaro Forero Tascón

BOGOTÁ — Why has an isolationist U.S. president like Donald Trump suddenly become interventionist in Venezuela? The explanation may be, as U.S. Congressman "Tip" O'Neill once said, that "all politics is local." Especially when it is in your backyard.

While campaigning, Trump was dismissive of the Florida Senator and rival candidate Marco Rubio, whom he called Little Marco. He suggested Rubio did no work because he had one of the worst records of attendance at Senate sessions. The contempt was mutual. Rubio referred to Trump's small hands, "and you know what they say about men with small hands."

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War In Ukraine, Day 85: Russia’s "Smaller" Operations And Shrinking Ambitions

U.S. Department of Defense officials report that instead of the typical battalion tactical groups in Ukraine, which number several hundred soldiers, the Russians have now shifted to attacks by smaller units.

Ukrainian soldiers in Donbas

Meike Eijsberg, Cameron Manley and Emma Albright

A new Pentagon report has found that Russia is continuing to reduce the scale of its military actions toward more "small" operations, which is another sign that it has lowered the ambitions of its invasion of Ukraine.

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The Washington Post, citing a U.S. Department of Defense official, reports that instead of the typical battalion tactical groups, which number several hundred soldiers, the Russians have now shifted to attacks by smaller units, each ranging from a few dozen to a hundred soldiers. These smaller units have also scaled down their objectives and are targeting towns, villages and crossroads.

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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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