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.

December 2017

Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here) December 26, 2017 El Salvador Jonathan Blitzer, “The Teens Trapped Between a Gang and the Law” (The New Yorker, December 26, 2017). Many of the victims of MS-13 on Long Island are immigrants themselves, and a large number of them came to the U.S. as unaccompanied minors Honduras Danielle Marie Mackey, “The […]

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Some Things That I Wrote in 2017

Even before Election Day 2016, I knew 2017 was going to be an intense year at work. Still, it exceeded expectations. This year I traveled to Colombia three times, to the U.S.-Mexico border twice, and the Mexico-Guatemala border once. I met with about fifty congressional offices. I co-hosted a big conference and led a congressional […]

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Priorities for 2018

(2,245 words, approximate reading time 8 minutes, 58 seconds) At work, my title is “director for defense oversight.” Work is the Washington Office on Latin America, an effective, growing think-tank-advocacy-organization. It promotes human rights and democracy in U.S. policy toward the Western Hemisphere. That means I pay attention to the whole region, not a single […]

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17 Remarkable Latin America Reads From 2017

Corruption scandals, organized crime, democratic weakening, and an unhelpful new administration in Washington made this a tough year for Latin America. Through it all, journalists and non-governmental organizations were on top of their game. This isn’t a comprehensive list, and there’s a bias towards coverage of things I didn’t know before. But here are just […]

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Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here) December 20, 2017 Bolivia “Bolivia y China Firman Protocolo de Donacion Logistica a Favor de ff.aa.” (Agencia Boliviana de Noticias (Bolivia), December 20, 2017). El embajador de China en Bolivia, Liang Yu y el ministro de Defensa Reymi Ferreira, firmaron el miércoles un protocolo de donación de material logístico a las Fuerzas […]

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Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here) December 19, 2017 Argentina Daniel Pardo, “Cacerolas, Paro Nacional y Protestas: La Violenta Jornada en Argentina por la Reforma a las Pensiones Impulsada por Mauricio Macri y Aprobada en el Congreso” (BBC (UK), December 19, 2017). Hacia la mitad de la tarde, los enfrentamientos entre fuerzas de seguridad y manifestantes despejaron la […]

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Where some see a wave of terror, Colombia’s Defense Minister sees “skirts”

Throughout Colombia’s countryside, especially in areas of longtime influence of the former FARC guerrillas, leaders of social organizations are living in fear. Every few days, somewhere in the country, a land-rights claimant, a participant in a crop substitution program, a campesino organizer, or a leader of an ethnic community is murdered. It’s a huge threat to the […]

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Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here) December 18, 2017 Chile Ernesto Londono, Pascale Bonnefoy, “Sebastian Pinera Wins Chile’s Presidential Election” (The New York Times, December 18, 2017). The decisive 9-point victory, which came as a surprise because recent polls had suggested the race was a tossup, showed that millions of Chileans saw Mr. Piñera as best suited to […]

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Why what’s happening in Honduras matters

(1,436 words, 5 minute 44 second reading time) When I was in college in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was already studying and following the U.S. role in Latin America. Back then, at the sunset of the Cold War and the Reagan presidency, the deal was clear. If you were a dictator in […]

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The day ahead: December 15, 2017

I’ll be sporadically available all day. (How to contact me) At 11:00 I’ll be doing a Facebook Live discussion about the U.S.-Mexico border, the first time WOLA has attempted this format. There’s a lot to talk about, so do tune in if you’re able. I have a mid-afternoon meeting with a reporter, and at some […]

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Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here) December 14, 2017 Brazil Giselle Ouchana, “‘(A Upp) Ja Acabou. So Estamos Aguardando a Ordem para Sairmos Daqui’, Diz Policial” (O Globo (Brazil), December 14, 2017). Se em 2017 a verba de manutenção das UPPs era de R$ 5,4 milhões, para o ano que vem as 38 unidades terão apenas R$ 10 […]

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New Report: Lessons from San Diego’s Border Wall

This is just a blurb. The full report is here: HTML / PDF. I set about writing it at the beginning of the month after we returned from our Texas border trip. This was meant to be just a quick memo about the border-wall prototypes that got built outside San Diego, but blossomed into a […]

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The day ahead: December 14, 2017

I’ll be most available mid-morning and mid-afternoon. (How to contact me) After two solid days of “off-campus” meetings around Washington, I’ll be back in the office today. I’ve got an internal meeting, a mid-day discussion about Colombia, and a late-afternoon visit from a Mexico-based journalist. In between, I’ll be launching a mid-sized (4,000-word) report on border security, and […]

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