Adam Isacson

Still trying to understand Latin America, my own country, and why so few consequences are intended. These views are not necessarily my employer’s.

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Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here)

August 23, 2019

Western Hemisphere Regional

Pentagon officials are open to the idea of deploying reconnaissance planes and drones built for war to the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a new cache of documents obtained by Newsweek

U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee, who oversees the Flores agreement, last year refused the government’s request to permit the long-term detention of families, on the grounds that it is harmful to children. She’s unlikely to allow it now

The idea, the official added, was to skirt Congress by instituting the change in the form of a regulation, while creating yet another pretext for assailing lawmakers for their failure to take some radical action of their own

Brazil

From January to July, fires consumed 4.6 million acres of the Brazilian Amazon, a 62 percent increase compared to last year

Colombia

El alto consejero para la estabilización y la consolidación le respondió a parlamentarios de la U, Cambio Radical, el Polo y el Partido Liberal, entre otros, acerca del estado de implementación de los acuerdos

Se refieren al daño que los hechos de corrupción le están haciendo a las instituciones militares

Narcotráfico, explotación ilícita de oro y extorsiones son las rentas criminales que persigue el Eln en el norte del país. Ya puede cruzar desde Chocó hasta Venezuela

Cuba, Venezuela

Imposing surveillance, fear and repression, Cuba helped Venezuela revamp its armed forces and military intelligence service. Reuters reveals how two agreements, undisclosed since 2008, let Havana remake Venezuela’s security apparatus

El Salvador

In the land of Mano Dura, those who talk about an alternative risk getting burned—not just by a vengeful state but by the bloodthirsty gangs themselves

Guatemala

Tres de los jueces que han conocido casos investigados por el Ministerio Público (MP) y la Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG) hablaron ayer sobre los riesgos que representa su trabajo y señalaron que el Organismo Judicial (OJ) no ha atendido las denuncias por amenazas

La Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad de Guatemala (Cicig), creada por las Naciones Unidas para fortalecer el débil sistema de justicia guatemalteco, echó este miércoles el cierre a sus actividades en el país centroamericano tras 12 años

Jimmy Morales, el impopular presidente guatemalteco, llegó para confirmar que trasladaría su embajada de Tel Aviv a Jerusalén

Mexico

El Diagnóstico resalta que el presupuesto asignado para este año, de 207.6 millones de pesos, era muy inferior a lo canalizado en años anteriores, y corresponde “al 64% del gasto previsto y monto inferior a lo ejercido en 2018 y 2017”

Preguntarse por qué sus países y México no se han tocado el corazón para darles una respuesta, una certeza, es necesario

Mexican immigration officials have scuttled some of those plans by implementing caps on the number of people that can be returned to the country, limiting the hours when they can be sent back, and refusing to take asylum-seekers on Sundays

Panama

El presidente panameño, Laurentino Cortizo, descartó este miércoles la posibilidad de firmar un acuerdo que convierta a Panamá en un “tercer país seguro” para albergar migrantes

The day ahead: August 23, 2019

I should be reachable much of the day. (How to contact me)

On this August Friday, I’ll be in the office working on two writing projects. I’ll be on a few calls in the early afternoon but otherwise should be reachable if needed.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Planet Labs photo at The Wall Street Journal. Caption: “Satellite image of Para, Brazil, taken on Tuesday.”

(Even more here)

August 22, 2019

Western Hemisphere Regional

The Trump Administration’s effort to deter migrants by creating harsh conditions at the border may ease the flow in the short term, but any long-term solution will require much broader cooperation with the world to the south

Brazil

Local newspapers say farmers in some regions are organising “fire days” to take advantage of weaker enforcement by the authorities

Indigenous communities face their most severe threat since military rulers bulldozed highways through the region nearly five decades ago

Witzel said in July that police should lose their “fear of killing.” Bolsonaro said this month that with a new law he backs, criminals “are going to die in the street like cockroaches”

Colombia

Aunque un documento filtrado esta semana, que da cuenta de esos esfuerzos dentro de la institución, ha causado revuelo, la desconfianza, en este caso particular, nos parece infundada

El núcleo de la Reforma Rural Integral (RRI) está en riesgo por la falta de claridad del gobierno

Cuba

While the decline is impacting the state tourism sector, it is also hurting the many restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts and taxi drivers in the fledgling Cuban private sector that the United States says it wants to support

Guatemala

Todo indica que cuando gobierne Guatemala, la seguridad económica y física de sus ciudadanos podría empeorar

Mexico

El 30 de octubre de 2014, seis civiles murieron en un operativo en Luvianos, Estado de México. La CNDH rechaza la versión ofrecida por los militares y dice que las víctimas no dispararon

Los inmigrantes protestaron frente a la estación migratoria Siglo XXI en Tapachula, Chiapas, argumentando que llevan dos meses varados sin solución a su estadía en el país

Nearly a quarter of participants reported experiencing physical violence, including beatings, thefts, and kidnappings, en route through Mexico. Sexual violence was also rampant

Zenén Nava Sánchez, El Chaparro, líder del grupo delincuencial Los Jefes, que actualmente mantiene una confrontación con la banda de Los Ardillos, que dirige la familia del diputado local perredista Bernardo Ortega Jiménez, por el control del municipio de Chilapa

he municipality has barely managed to put five portable toilets in the park, leaving most of the immigrants to seek help from church programs while walking the streets in search of jobs, food or a shelter

Nicaragua

Más de 20 exmilitares en cargos de Gobierno y de negocios en Albanisa

Venezuela

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Wednesday with Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez in Moscow, where the two held the latest in a series of bilateral talks

The humanitarian toll of U.S. sanctions is mounting, and Guaidó’s association with Trump has become his greatest liability

The Trump administration’s hostility to immigration and to foreign aid spending overall clashes openly with the effort to procure regime change via the economic strangulation of the Maduro government

Si los venezolanos-estadounidenses aceptan que ellos y sus familias tienen que seguir sufriendo bajo un régimen criminal con una nueva cara para presionar a Cuba, un presidente Cabello quizás le saldría bien a Trump

Faller afirmó que los países de la región están ante el desafío de unirse para responder conjuntamente ante las amenazas a la paz regional, entre las que citó la crisis venezolana

The day ahead: August 22, 2019

Other than a brief period mid-day, I’ll be hard to reach today. (How to contact me)

I’ve got an internal meeting, two Skype calls with colleagues in Colombia, and a State Department meeting on the calendar today. All are Colombia-related. Other than that, I may be reachable around lunchtime.

Some articles I found interesting this morning


Jose A. Iglesias photo at The Miami Herald. Caption: “Cuban migrants check their status on the list posted by the entrance to the Gateway International Bridge in Matamoros, Mexico.”

(Even more here)

August 21, 2019

Western Hemisphere Regional

The Trump administration plans to issue a new policy that would deny work permits to asylum-seekers who cross the border without authorization as well as those who are convicted of a felony, and significantly delay when those qualified to apply for a permit can do so

As early as Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue a sweeping new set of regulations for detaining migrant children, replacing more than two decades of protections

Colombia

EL PAÍS buscó comunicarse con la Dirección de Comunicaciones Estratégicas del Ejército para conocer cómo garantizará que esta directriz no incida en los relatos que los militares cuentan ante la Comisión y la JEP, sin obtener respuesta

Para las instituciones oficiales, la labor se está haciendo bien. Sin embargo para las organizaciones sociales como la Fundación Sumapaz, la impunidad en estos crímenes ronda el 95%.

El sector donde ocurrió la masacre hace parte de una zona recreativa con espacios naturales para acampar

Cuba, Mexico

Long lists of papers taped to window panes hold the names of thousands of migrants waiting their turn to ask for U.S. asylum. The largest number of asylum seekers by far are Cubans, followed by Venezuelans and Nicaraguans

Mexico

Fifteen police officers from the municipality of Madera, Chihuahua, in northern Mexico, were arrested on August 15 during a joint operation by state and federal agencies

In the first ruling of its kind, the district court in Mexico City granted permission for the pair to “possess, transport and use cocaine”—but not sell it

Las agresiones se suscitaron en nueve estados; dos víctimas fallecieron a manos de sus parejas y el crimen organizado mató a una alcaldesa https://www.milenio.com/policia/desde-dia-de-la-marcha-17-mujeres-asesinadas

Nicaragua

Al menos siete personas murieron en las elecciones municipales de 2017. Así que no es alejado de la realidad creer que el régimen orteguista enviará a sus “Batallones de la paz” a imponer el terror en las urnas

Panama

Acting homeland security secretary Kevin McAleenan will travel to Panama City on Wednesday to meet with the country’s newly elected president, Laurentino Cortizo

The day ahead: August 21, 2019

I should be reachable much of the day. (How to contact me)

No meetings or events on my calendar today. I’ll be (still) catching up on correspondence from my weeks of travel, and doing some writing.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here)

August 20, 2019

Western Hemisphere Regional

Manufactured anywhere, from DIY bathroom labs to huge chemical factories, synthetic drugs are cheaper and easier to make than cocaine and heroin because there is no reliance on the cultivation of plants

The AFSM was created by executive order under President Bill Clinton in 1996. It was given to troops who deployed to the border between May 2006 and July 2008 under President George W. Bush

“What’s happening is there’s a trickle there, where they are crossing three to four people at a time every hour or so, and doing it that way”

Over the last year, these border members have watched as a kind of congressional tourism at the border has become political necessity

No official account mentioned the parallel talks Pence, Pompeo and a group of fundamentalist evangelical leaders held with President Hernández to persuade him to make state decisions based on their literal interpretations of the Bible

Argentina, Venezuela

Fernandez criticized regional demands for Maduro to step down and praised Mexico and Uruguay for promoting talks between Maduro and the opposition

Brazil

Las fuerzas de seguridad estatales son responsables del 38 por ciento de los homicidios en la ciudad

“I’m not going to subject my son to failure,” Bolsonaro told reporters on Tuesday in what was the first public hint he may be reconsidering his nomination

Colombia

Los nueve municipios que hacen parte del Norte del Cauca han registrado múltiples hechos en contra de sus autoridades indígenas desde que se firmó el Acuerdo de Paz

La Corte Suprema de Justicia citó al expresidente a indagatoria el 8 de octubre por presunta manipulación de testigos. A partir de esa fecha los magistrados tendrán diez días para decidir si continúan con el proceso o lo archivan

Hoy el partido Farc, que fue responsable de muchas de esas desapariciones, dio un primer paso para que algunas de ellas estén más cerca a la verdad: le entregaron a la Unidad de Búsqueda de Personas Dadas por Desaparecidas información sobre 276 víctimas

Colombia, Mexico

Angela María Buitrago acaba de ganar en su país un caso judicial que deja muy mal parados a ciertos personajes de la ultraderecha mexicana y a ciertos defensores de la “verdad histórica” de la Noche de Iguala

El Salvador

En 2011, menos de 1 % del total de homicidios provenía del uso letal de la fuerza por parte de las autoridades. En seis años ese porcentaje llegó a ser más del 10 % de ese mismo total

Guatemala

The probe soured the commission’s relations with the president, and later in 2017, the CICIG tried to impeach Jimmy Morales, 50, himself for alleged campaign finance irregularities

In the past year, Guatemala has received 226 asylum claims. Of those, not a single one has been processed, according to the government. The country’s asylum agency has eight employees

Giammattei promete equilibrio y lucha contra la corrupción, pero los militares y empresarios que formarán parte de su gabinete consolidan las dudas sobre la integridad de su proyecto

Giammattei ha asegurado que el tema migratorio será una prioridad en su gobierno y que el acuerdo alcanzado con la administración de Donald Trump debe ser analizado en conjunto con los anexos que aún se negocian

Mexico

Esto es parte de uno de los 2 mil testimonios que muestran un mecanismo para apoderarse de casas, terrenos, comercios y negocios en el que aparecieron involucrados el exgobernador Roberto Sandoval y el propio Veytia, detenido en Estados Unidos

López Obrador vowed that his administration was “not going to allow the assassination of journalists.” But that promise rings hollow under the weight of the 10 journalists murdered so far this year

According to the best estimates, gunrunners move 700 to 800 guns into Mexico every day — about a quarter-million guns every year

There is no due process in Mexico for asylum seekers, just endless obstacles to staying alive, finding an attorney and communicating with authorities

Venezuela

To extract the precious metal, these men must turn rocks into dust, from sunrise to sunset, under the brutal rule of a state-sponsored network of violent gangs and corrupt military

Assuming the offer is genuine, major sticking points remain — first and foremost, Maduro’s fate

Cabello has yet to directly address claims he was talking to Washington, although an aide told the Associated Press he would only do so with Maduro’s permission

“No voy a detallar lo que estamos planeando y lo que estamos haciendo, pero permanecemos listos para implementar decisiones políticas y estamos listos para actuar”, dijo Faller a los periodistas

The Trump administration believes that by choking Venezuela’s economy harder Mr Maduro can be ejected. The remedy is not working

The day ahead: August 20, 2019

I should be reachable in the afternoon. (How to contact me)

This morning I’m guest-teaching a segment of the “Andean Republics” class at the Foreign Service Institute. I’ll be in the office all afternoon, continuing to answer accumulated messages from my weeks away, and processing my notes from last week’s border trip into the beginnings of a report.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here)

Gustavo Banda Aceves photo at Proceso (Mexico). Caption: “Elementos de la GN frente al albergue para migrantes en Playas de Tijuana, donde detuvieron a niños, adolescentes y adultos.”

August 19, 2019

Western Hemisphere Regional

Border Patrol agent Matthew Bowen had been investigated for years before he used his 4,000-pound truck to assault a fleeing migrant

The 197,000-square-foot facility in the West Texas desert, which opened this past week, has separate giant white tent buildings for single adult female and male detainees

Brazil

The move could strain relations with Iran, a Hezbollah ally which imports $2.5 billion of Brazilian products per year, and displease Brazil’s influential Lebanese community

Colombia

Lo que está pasando en el Ejército es de cuidado: los suboficiales, es decir, la base, están enardecidos, viendo como muchos generales viven a sus anchas y promueven a sus enchufados, pese a que no cumplen los requisitos

En San Vicente del Caguán, excombatientes de la otrora columna Teófilo Forero de las Farc hacen ingentes esfuerzos por completar el proceso de reincorporación. Ninguno de sus proyectos productivos es sostenible todavía

Por lo menos en Putumayo, el Pacífico y Catatumbo, sus habitantes seguirán yendo a las urnas en medio del conflicto, y ahora con un fortalecido matrimonio entre narcos, guerrillas o disidencias con la política

El busque hospital USNS Comfort de la Armada de Estados Unidos llegó este domingo a la ciudad colombiana de Santa Marta

Así lo dijo embajador saliente de ese país en Colombia, Kevin Whitaker, en entrevista con EL TIEMPO

Guatemala

Violence against women is driving an exodus of migrants from Central America, but the Trump administration is determined to deny them asylum

Mexico

El pasado martes 13 se llevaron detenidos, de forma arbitraria, a niños, adolescentes y adultos que se encontraban en playas de Tijuana en una salida recreativa

By early August, the waiting lists had expanded to three more cities. The total number of asylum seekers on these lists surpassed 26,000

Venezuela

Trump has publicly alluded to a naval blockade of Venezuela. Earlier this month he answered “Yes, I am” when a reporter asked whether he was mulling such a move

Diosdado Cabello, who is considered the most-powerful man in Venezuela after Maduro, met last month in Caracas with someone who is in close contact with the Trump administration

The day ahead: August 19, 2019

I’m most reachable in the afternoon. (How to contact me)

I’m back from a lot of traveling: in the last 3 weeks I’ve been to Miami for work, a week of vacation in New York state, and the Mexico-Guatemala border for work. Today is the third day in August when I’ll be in Washington.

That means today is a catching-up day for me, getting through what’s in all the inboxes that have accumulated while I’ve been away, and checking in with colleagues. I have a staff meeting in the morning and should be reachable after that.

I may leave the office early to catch up with home needs like laundry and food—but not too early, as a big portion of our house is being renovated and it’s a construction site for much of the day.

Some Mexico-Guatemala Border Crossings

I’m back, as of a few hours ago, from a week along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. There’s a lot to talk about – but for now, some photos of border crossings.

Talisman, Chiapas, Mexico – El Carmen, San Marcos, Guatemala.
Talisman, Chiapas, Mexico – El Carmen, San Marcos, Guatemala.
Army wearing armbands of Mexico’s new National Guard at Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, Mexico – Tecún Umán, San Marcos, Guatemala.
Mexico is cracking down (under U.S. pressure) at Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, Mexico – Tecún Umán, San Marcos, Guatemala. Fewer rafts are crossing.
Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, Chiapas, Mexico – La Mesilla, Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, Chiapas, Mexico – La Mesilla, Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
Lago Internacional between Chiapas, Mexico and Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
Lago Internacional between Chiapas, Mexico and Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
Nuevo Orizaba, Chiapas, Mexico – Ixcán, Quiché, Guatemala.
Nuevo Orizaba, Chiapas, Mexico – Ixcán, Quiché, Guatemala.

The day ahead: August 12, 2019

I’m traveling for work this week. (How to contact me)

Good morning from Mexico City. Later today, we’re headed south to the Mexico-Guatemala border zone, where I’ll be for the rest of the week. I hope to post to this site when I get a chance, but I will be difficult to contact.

The day ahead: August 5, 2019

I’m on vacation this week. (How to contact me)

I’m off of work for a week of vacation with family. (Right now, I’m sitting on a lakeside dock in the Adirondacks, with my toes in the water. It’s nice.) Then on Sunday, I’m flying to Mexico, where we’re going to do a week of field research along the border with Guatemala. So I’ll be difficult to contact for the next two weeks. I expect to post to this site intermittently.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here)

July 16, 2019

Western Hemisphere Regional

The move brought immediate threats of legal challenge; the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) contains broad provisions that allow foreigners who reach U.S. soil to apply for asylum if they claim a fear of persecution in their native countries

Most of his colleagues, he said, fall into one of two camps. There are the “law-and-order types” who see the immigrants in their custody, as, first and foremost, criminals. Then, he said, there are those who are “just tired of all the chaos” of a broken immigration system and “see no end in sight”

The proposal of the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), which represents 60 organizations from California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, seeks to expand public safety, protect human rights and welcome newcomers and border residents

Behind this week’s migrant-center horrors lies an agency plagued by years of dysfunction—and Trump is only its latest problem

UNHCR believes the rule excessively curtails the right to apply for asylum, jeopardizes the right to protection from refoulement, significantly raises the burden of proof on asylum seekers beyond the international legal standard, sharply curtails basic rights and freedoms of those who manage to meet it, and is not in line with international obligations

Mexico, Western Hemisphere Regional

The rule would effectively limit asylum protections to Mexicans and those who cross the United States’ southwestern border by sea

Central America Regional

Authorizes $577 million in foreign assistance to Central America to address the root causes of migration in Fiscal Year 2020

Guatemala

“The Guatemalans did not know what they were getting into,” a Trump Administration official said

Honduras

Es uno de los países más pobres de América y un lugar estratégico para el narcotráfico, que ha secuestrado la institucionalidad y pervertido la economía y los equilibrios del poder

Guatemala, Mexico

The rule, announced Monday by the Trump administration, requires asylum seekers who pass through a third country to first apply for refugee status from that country rather than from the U.S.

Mexico

The MPP, rather than protect migrants, puts them in grave danger. It mandates that they remain in crime-ridden Mexican border cities for months, even years

Venezuela

A discreet Norwegian diplomatic effort represents the best hope for breaking Venezuela’s political deadlock. To stop the country’s slide into humanitarian and economic catastrophe, pragmatic backers of both government and opposition should put aside empty hopes of outright victory and support a negotiated settlement

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