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Geopolitics

Elections In Nicaragua And Guatemala Show Central America's Democratic Deficit

Analysis: Two elections decided Sunday in Central America produced winners – Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and Otto Pérez in Guatemala – who couldn’t be more different. But the victories both show how troubled the isthmus’ democratic institutions really are.

A Guatemalan woman votes in September's first-round election
A Guatemalan woman votes in September's first-round election
Paulo A. Paranagua

Two presidential elections took place in Central America on Sunday. In Nicaragua, Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega was reelected. In Guatemala, retired Gen. Otto Pérez Molina won a runoff with 55% of the vote.

Accredited international observers found that, except for a few incidents, the election in Nicaragua was clean. But there is a major problem with the outcome nonetheless: the Constitution should have prohibited Ortega from running in the first place. Nicaraguan presidents aren't allowed to serve consecutive terms, nor are they allowed to serve more than two in total. Ortega thus should have been barred on both counts, but was allowed to compete thanks to a ruling by the Supreme Court, which he controls.

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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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