Adam Isacson

Defense, security, borders, migration, and human rights in Latin America and the United States. May not reflect my employer’s consensus view.


August 2019

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

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