Other than two internal WOLA meetings (this morning and mid-afternoon), I’m in the office today. My father is in town, so I’ll be breaking a bit early. Otherwise, I’ll be here writing a Colombia update.
Los grandes polos ideológicos de la región serán México y Brasil, con López Obrador y Bolsonaro. Pero la capacidad de estos dos líderes de conducir la política latinoamericana estará determinada por las alianzas que logren hacer con el bloque de centroderecha
The M-41C vehicles that the Brazilian Army used through 2009 will be part of the Uruguayan Army’s 13th Armored Infantry Battalion Brazil purchased the M-41 armored vehicles from the United States in the 1960s. EB used the vehicles equipped with cannons for almost five decades for training purposes
El alto consejero asegura que hubo una mala interpretación de la cifra de $170 billones para financiar el posconflicto en los próximos 15 años, por lo que destacó que la cifra establecida es de $129,5 billones
Aunque el alto funcionario pide “paciencia”, las deudas en materia de desarrollo son de larga data y las demoras en la implementación han empezado a deteriorar la confianza que las comunidades depositaron en el Acuerdo de Paz
As Dominicans have ably shown, the most extreme rhetoric has a way of becoming real. And the consequences of inciting millions of people against vulnerable groups of immigrants are impossible to control
Ahora, aunque ese precursor de la heroína está a la baja, la zona sigue siendo un territorio que se disputan los grupos del crimen organizado, pues además de la droga controlan la producción minera y la explotación forestal
Yesterday was a holiday here in the United States, which gave me time to add edits, photos, footnotes and other touches to a monster-sized forthcoming report on Colombia, based on our early September research trip. That is out of my hands for now, I’m happy to say, as colleagues here add their parts to it. I’m pleased with how it’s turned out.
I’m in and out today. I have an on-camera interview this morning here in the office, a lunch with a visiting Colombian colleague, and a visit from some Bogotá-based U.S. officials. This evening, the president of Colombia’s Truth Commission arrives in Washington, where he’ll be for the rest of the week, and I’ll brief him about his visit.
Putting troops at the border to protect against what Mr. Trump deemed a threat, in his rallying cry for the midterms, has put Mr. Mattis’s views about politicizing the military on a collision course with the president
Reposan en más de 12.000 cajas. ¿Cómo llegaron ahí? ¿Por qué la Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz (JEP) dice que los archivos están en riesgo? ¿Por qué este tribunal transicional pide su custodia? ¿Están completos? ¿Qué dicen?
I have less on the schedule today: attending a discussion with a visiting Colombian official first thing in the morning, then I’ll be in the office. I need to catch up on correspondence, especially from yesterday when I wasn’t near a keyboard at all. I’ll probably help with WOLA’s response to Trump’s rule, being released today, illegally rolling back access to asylum. I’ll give a thorough revision to our draft report on Colombia, based on fieldwork done two months ago.
Also I’d like to post here several things that we’ve produced over the last few weeks—writing, podcasts, graphics—that I haven’t shared here because it’s just been too busy.
I’ve got six events on the calendar today, including two speaking events. I’m guest-teaching a class of visiting Latin American officials at the National Defense University’s Perry Center, talking about U.S. security aid programs. I’m talking at a small event about Colombia at WOLA. Then a couple of meetings with a scholar and an activist. Then seeing Colombia’s peace commissioner, who is in town, at the country’s embassy. Finally, a dinner meeting with WOLA supporters.
So I don’t expect to be posting here, or really even able to answer the phone.
Even before the Democratic Party won majority control of the House of Representatives, it wasn’t clear how Donald Trump was going to be able to get his border wall through Congress, which must approve the funding for it. Senate rules make it possible to block big budget outlays—like $25 billion for a wall—if 60 senators don’t first allow a vote to proceed. The Senate’s Republicans were (and still are) well short of that “filibuster-proof majority,” and Trump had been threatening to shut down the government to try to break the inevitable logjam of opposition.
His bargaining position just got far weaker. With the result of Tuesday’s midterm elections, Trump’s border wall has hit a wall of its own. With a Democratic majority, there is no way that a piece of legislation with border-wall money can pass the House of Representatives. Full stop.
Democrats will now write the first draft of all funding legislation. The Homeland Security appropriations bill will be drafted by a subcommittee headed by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California, who strongly opposes Trump’s wall. “I am acutely aware of America’s security funding priorities,” she said in January. “We will not address our security needs by building this wall.” In July 2017, when the appropriations subcommittee that she will now preside met to approve the 2018 Homeland Security budget bill, Rep. Roybal-Allard introduced an amendment that would have cut Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Assets and Infrastructure funding by $1,571,239,000—the exact cost of the border wall—and to use it for other purposes. The amendment failed by a party-line vote of 22 to 30.
Democrats will also decide ahead of time which bills and amendments may be considered on the floor of the House of Representatives. Because there are so many representatives, the House has a Rules Committee that acts as a gatekeeper. It meets before any major legislation comes to the House floor, to decide which bills and amendments will be “in order”—that is, permitted to be considered—during the next day’s debate. Republicans have used the Rules Committee to prevent much legislation and amendments from coming to the floor, ruling it “out of order.” As of January, though, this powerful committee will be chaired by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts), a longtime advocate of human rights in Latin America.
It is very hard to imagine a scenario in which President Trump gets his border wall through this House of Representatives. And if it doesn’t get through the House, it doesn’t get through Congress, and it doesn’t get funded.
Unless: if the president really wants his border wall, Democrats might be open to a deal if it includes big concessions to their agenda. President Trump would have to give the Democratic Party something very big to win their approval for his wall. That “something” would probably have to do with immigration policy.
In 2017, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) reportedly offered not to filibuster a package of border-wall money if the White House and Senate Republicans supported legislation allowing “Dreamers” to stay in the United States. That deal fell through, and now that judicial decisions have preserved Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for now, the Democrats would probably demand much more for border-wall funding. Their demands would probably extend to preserving access to asylum, strict limits on family detention and separation, non-deportation of migrants with Temporary Protected Status, reforms to CBP and ICE, and probably other demands that strike at the heart of Donald Trump and Stephen Miller’s anti-immigrant crusade.
If the White House isn’t willing to concede a lot on immigration—and after the over-the-top campaign rhetoric we’ve just heard, it probably isn’t—then Trump’s border wall is dead and done with. We are now “beyond the wall.”
I was up way too late last night watching election returns. I’m not at my cognitive best, but I’m delighted that one house of the U.S. Congress will be run by some people whose views of U.S. policy toward Latin America at least sometimes resemble mine. And that there will now be a meaningful check on presidential power. Let’s just enjoy that for a moment.
Otherwise, I’ve got meetings this morning with a journalist and some European diplomats, and an after-lunch strategy/debrief meeting with staff here at WOLA. When not there, I’ll be at my desk, fighting sleepiness and catching up with news and correspondence. Also, a bit of writing: yesterday, I finished a first draft of a behemoth report on Colombia (19,000 words! 171 footnotes!), and now it’s time to tighten up the prose.
This generation will be remembered for having allowed for concentration camps for children to be built on “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” This is happening here and now, but not in our names
Thousands of migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala head north hoping to find work and a better life in the US. The largest Central American caravan in decades keeps growing as thousands more join this journey – but when they reach Mexico, the migrant caravan starts taking different directions
I voted early, and my kid’s school is closed, so I’m working at home this morning. Mainly preparing a talk I’ll be giving to a class of Latin American officials at the National Defense University on Thursday. Then I’m off for some mid-day parent-teacher conferences, after which I’ll spend the rest of the day in the office. I expect to draft several more pages of a big Colombia report (almost done, I can almost taste it), then go home this evening, where I’ll anxiously watch the midterm election returns on at least three screens at once.
The total price of President Trump’s military deployment to the border, including the cost of National Guard forces that have been there since April, could climb well above $200?million by the end of 2018 and grow significantly
When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requested troops at the border, it asked the military to perform emergency law enforcement functions like crowd control. But the Pentagon rejected that request in late October
Photos from Getty Images also showed CBP agents wearing Operational Camouflage Pattern uniforms originally designed for Army use. Green Berets and some Navy SEALs have worn the pattern, which now extends to local police departments
Today, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released the U.S. Government’s annual estimates of coca cultivation and cocaine production for the Republic of Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia
Este proyecto malo e inconstitucional podría tener efectos positivos si hace parte de un pacto público y serio de todas las fuerzas políticas, incluida la FARC, para implementar, con ajustes que no toquen su esencia, el Acuerdo de Paz
Ten other soldiers were injured in the attack in Amazonas state, which Padrino said was retribution for Venezuela’s capture of “nine Colombian paramilitary members,” the latest sign of worsening relations
To win a majority of the House of Representatives, Democrats will have to carry 33 of these 70. Nearly half. That is, they need to hold the ten Democrat-held districts listed here, and take 23 more.
After an unhealthily obsessive study of polls and coverage, I’ve given each of the 70 districts a score.
If it looks like a likely Democratic pickup, it gets a 1.
If it’s too close to call but I think it’s a plausible Democratic win, it gets a 0.5. That way, every two “plausible” districts equals one Democratic pickup.
If it’s a longshot, it gets a 0.
If it’s close but there’s a plausible chance that a Democratic seat could flip Republican, it’s a -0.5.
If the Democrat is likely to lose, it’s a -1 (that’s Radinovich’s seat in Minnesota, and a result of court-ordered redistricting in Pennsylvania-14).
I’ll update this through election night. But as of 5:00PM on Monday the 6th, I see the Democratic Party just barely squeaking by with a net gain of 23 seats, giving them a bare 218-217 majority:
You may score these districts more optimistically than I do. But I’ve been burned before, and by my reckoning, the Democrats will just barely make it.
Most analystsseem to be expecting the Democrats to pick up about 35 seats. (I’m closer to the RealClearPolitics map, which predicts a 26.5 seat Democratic pickup, for a 221.5-213.5 majority.) Sorry, but I just don’t see 35 seats.
There’s no wiggle room. This spreadsheet explains why I’m feeling pretty anxious about the Trump administration being subjected to any meaningful oversight and accountability over the next two years.
If I’m wrong and it’s a blowout, I’ll be delighted to admit how cracked my crystal ball is on Wednesday.
I’ve got an internal meeting in the morning and a lunchtime meeting with a Senate staffer. Otherwise I’m writing: trying to finish a huge Colombia report and getting a start on a memo for a funder. I plan to work at home in the afternoon.