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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December 2019

The day ahead: December 6, 2019

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

I was up late finishing two writing projects, which will both go online within the next 10 days. Today I’m catching up on research and correspondence. WOLA’s board of directors is meeting today, and I’ll be intermittently involved with their visit.

The day ahead: December 5, 2019

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

Other than an internal meeting and a border-related conference call mid-day, I should be at my desk, writing, all day. This morning I’m at home trying to bang out an analysis of militaries’ role in all the recent turmoil in Latin America. In the afternoon I’ll be in the office doing a “final final” edit to a monster (17,000-word) report on security and migration right now along Mexico’s southern border.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Luke Taylor/The World photo at Public Radio International. Caption: “A student from Bogotá lays candles at San Ignacio Hospital where student protester Dilan Cruz died of brain injuries after being shot with a projectile by riot police. It is one of two memorial sites and rallying points in Bogotá alongside the place where the fatality occurred in central Bogotá. Photo taken on Nov. 30, 2019.”

(Even more here)

December 4, 2019

Western Hemisphere Regional

It would be overly simplistic to point to a single common denominator or trigger. But there are some keys to understanding how turmoil in one place can feed turmoil elsewhere

Argentina

Además de impulsar un cambio en el organigrama de las distintas fuerzas, que va de la mano con la idea de darles un rol en la seguridad interior, en el combate de los ciberdelitos, narcotráfico y del terrorismo, Aguad deja algunos nombramientos

Colombia

Recorrimos las calles buscando videos inéditos del momento en el que fue asesinado Dilan Cruz. Esta es la reconstrucción que hicimos con la ayuda de Newsy y Bellingcat

Cruz, a young, relatable, middle-class student, is widely seen as a martyr for being killed by state forces while peacefully demonstrating. He has become the face of the movement

En un duro debate de control político, la oposición pidió cuentas sobre las recientes actuaciones de este escuadrón, como en el caso de Dilan Cruz, durante el paro nacional

Esta es una de las principales conclusiones que buscan sustentar los dos informes que cuatro reconocidas organizaciones de derechos humanos del país le entregaron a la Comisión de la Verdad

Cuba

In recent weeks Washington and Havana have raised the animosity level in ways that lead many to wonder if the U.S. is set to cut ties with Cuba again

Cuba, Venezuela

“They are chasing us ship by ship. … We cannot be naive, and we have to protect ourselves,” Diaz-Canel said in reference to the mounting pressure from Washington

El Salvador

Under the agreement, China will help build a large sports stadium, multi-story library and water treatment plant

Guatemala

Desde el día de su elección, Giammattei ha tenido acercamientos públicos con personajes cuestionados de la política guatemalteca

Honduras

The clock is ticking, and the citizens of Honduras deserve continued support to strengthen the rule of law and ensure accountability for corrupt actors

Mexico

La XV Caravana de Madres Centroamericanas de Migrantes Desaparecidos reúne a familiares de personas perdidas en los últimos años para buscar respuestas

Violent gangs are pushing cocaine and imposing a brutal brand of property tax on small businesses in San Miguel de Allende

The blame belongs more specifically on the agency’s asylum policies, especially the so-called “metering” and Migrant Protection Protocols

About 3,000 migrants are living in Nogales, Mexico as they wait their turns to seek asylum

Combining the complexity of Mexico and the catastrophic war on drugs with the problematic war on terror may only make it worse

Venezuela

Las posibilidades del Tiar hasta ahora solo alcanzan lo diplomático y las sanciones contra el régimen de Nicolás Maduro. El uso de la fuerza aún no está en los planes

Hoy no solo parece que Maduro seguirá en el poder, sino que el piso que sostiene a Guaidó se debilita

To a dozen Venezuelans interviewed by Reuters around the country, the scandal has marked another blow to Guaido’s reputation and to their hopes of seeing the back of the deeply unpopular Maduro

The day ahead: December 4, 2019

I’m in meetings nearly all day. (How to contact me)

I’ll be reachable at the beginning of the workday, but after that I’m on a call to discuss an upcoming speaking engagement, attending an event about migration at the border, in an internal meeting at WOLA, and meeting with Colombia-focused NGOs.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

BBC MUNDO/NurPhoto photo at La Prensa (Nicaragua). Caption: “Manifestantes chilenos exponen un cartel delante de un militar, durante las protestas contra el gobierno del presidente Sebastián Piñera.”

(Even more here)

December 3, 2019

Western Hemisphere Regional

En las últimas semanas aparecieron, con poca distancia unas de las otras, varias imágenes con una misma escena: distintos presidentes sudamericanos rodeados de mandos de las Fuerzas Armadas

We in the Trump administration will continue to support countries trying to prevent Cuba and Venezuela from hijacking those protests

Trump has been enamored with Tommy Fisher, the company’s chief executive, who has made multiple appearances on Fox News to promote his firm and insists that it would do a better job than those the government had already chosen

Deemed potentially lethal or nonessential by border officials, the medications were thrown away, along with other personal belongings, during the first stages of processing at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in southern Arizona

Bolivia

Un relator del organismo dijo que pedirá una visita inmediata de la comisión para analizar las masacres de Senkata y el Alto

Brazil

Após a morte de nove pessoas pisoteadas em decorrência de uma ação da Polícia Militar em um baile funk na favela de Paraisópolis, o governador de São Paulo, João Doria, afirmou nesta segunda-feira, 2, que a política de Segurança Pública do estado “não vai mudar”

The early-morning tweet stunned Bolsonaro, who appeared completely caught off guard in his comments to reporters outside the presidential palace

Colombia

Colombia pedirá más plazo para erradicar las minas antipersonal y lo más probable es que este se posponga hasta el 2025, cuando se cumple el plazo para la erradicación de estos artefactos en el mundo

Se definió que este martes se daría un encuentro entre las partes para iniciar la negociación

Salud Hernández- Mora narra lo que se vive en este municipio chocoano, en medio de toques de queda, amenazas contra las mujeres, desplazamientos de comunidades indígenas y el asesinato de dos personas

“He visto la evidencia y la lógica de alguna presencia e involucramiento de las organizaciones narcotraficantes en estos eventos, por sus propios intereses. Porque para ellos es mejor cuando hay disturbios”

Colombia, Mexico

Los semisumergibles generalmente parten de la costa del Pacífico de Colombia

Cuba

While Cuba has expanded internet access, enabling Cubans with new 3G cellphone service to post daring complaints on social media, Mr. Ferrer’s case has come to represent what can happen when they complain too much

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico

A three-judge panel was hearing arguments stemming from a lawsuit aimed at blocking the administration’s restrictive asylum rule

Haiti

Jacques Yves Sebastien Duroseau told investigators that he brought the firearms to Haiti because he wanted to help train the country’s army, according to court documents

Honduras

Monday’s sentences were welcomed by Cáceres’s family and supporters as an important step, but outside court they reiterated demands that justice be delivered against the masterminds and financiers

Mexico

Con este aseguramiento, la Sedena ha decomisado más de 10 toneladas de cocaína en un año

Informes militares indican que el CDN tiene su principal área de influencia en Tamaulipas, estado fronterizo con Estados Unidos y uno de los más violentos del país, y también una amplia presencia en el vecino estado de Nuevo León

“With this meeting, we showed that we are not enemies of the authorities,” Julian LeBaron, a family spokesman, told reporters

“The silver lining of all of this is that we have been more united in our messaging and the importance of the border”

What has been built has also been constructed “in place of dilapidated and outdated designs,” according to the report, so, technically at the time the report was released, no completely new border wall had been built

Nadie en esta capital parece saber de qué está hablando el Presidente

Si las instituciones de seguridad y justicia atendieran eficazmente los reportes tempranos de violencia intrafamiliar o hicieran cumplir adecuadamente las órdenes de protección que amparan a muchas mujeres, muy probablemente se evitarían un buen número de feminicidios

Once a quick stop for the deported to get a night’s rest and a shower, the city’s shelters have become long-term homes for Cuban and Central American families committed to pursuing their claims under MPP

Metal barriers now block three vehicle lanes at Nogales’ downtown port of entry, days after asylum seekers rushed up to the lanes to make their claims

El escritor y activista Javier Sicilia explica que marchará junto con Julián LeBarón a fin de exigir que, ante la tragedia nacional, el gobierno aplique “políticas de Estado más profundas”

The day ahead: December 3, 2019

I’ll be hard to reach until late in the day. (How to contact me)

I’m writing at home all morning with the phone off. By mid-day I’ll be in the office, but have a series of internal meetings. I plan to be in the office until very late in order to pick up my kid at a late event, so I’ll be most reachable at, and beyond, the end of the workday.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Gerardo Sanchez/AP Photo at Vox. Caption: “The city hall of Villa Union, Mexico riddled with bullet holes following an attack by a drug cartel.”

(Even more here)

December 2, 2019

Western Hemisphere Regional

Debemos comprender que los militares no solo no salieron de la escena, sino que se los ha fortalecido y el contexto actual facilita aún más su crecimiento político

Colombia

Cada vez que el Esmad lanza una granada de mano de gas lacrimógeno nos cuesta 79.620 pesos con 32 centavos

Está esperando una firma del ministro de Defensa para que las Fuerzas Militares le entreguen información de inteligencia

Este asunto lo resolvería la Sala Disciplinaria del Consejo Superior de la Judicatura

El reporte incluye su presupuesto, año a año, para comprar armas y elementos

Se necesitan respuestas rápidas iniciales frente a la gravedad de la crisis, como una reorganización del gabinete o la adopción de medidas que respondan a ciertas demandas de las protestas

Los protocolos para usar este tipo de armas dicen que las fuerzas policiales en el mundo pueden usarlas para inmovilizar a una persona en medio de actos violentos, nunca para matar

El Ejército busca tener control territorial en las zonas rurales de los municipios de Ituango en Antioquia y Alto Baudó, en Chocó, para brindarles garantías a 543 familias, es decir, unas 2406 personas

Desde el pasado 18 de noviembre a este desplazamiento masivo en el municipio del Alto Baudó que ha afectado a 2.160 personas de 448 familias

La muerte de Dilan Cruz revivió el debate en torno al trabajo del Esmad. Pero acabar con este escuadrón no es sensato. Este es el fondo del debate

Tres organizaciones sociales, que durante nueve meses recogieron testimonios en este departamento, le entregaron a la Comisión de la Verdad el informe “Impactos étnico-territoriales del conflicto en el Chocó”

Colombia, Venezuela

Rumors blaming Venezuelan migrants for isolated looting and vandalism connected to the protests have caused a sharp rise in xenophobia over the last 10 days

Ecuador

Son seis helicópteros bimotores para operaciones de búsqueda y salvamento, ocho aeronaves para entrenamiento básico, armamento de calibre mayor y menor, radares para el sistema de vigilancia, alarma y control del espacio aéreo

El Salvador

Multimedia presentation

Mexico

“Entre 2006 y 2018 los gobernantes pretendieron resolver la inseguridad y la violencia delictiva mediante acciones de fuerza militar y policial, sin atender el fondo del problema”, aseguró

He ran on promises to make the state work for the people instead of for the elites that were favored by his predecessors. And many Mexicans feel that he has begun to do just that

Overall, López Obrador’s personal approval rating remains high – a whopping favorability rate of 68%, down two points from Reforma’s last poll in July

The reason for the military-style attack remained unclear. Cartels have been contending for control of smuggling routes in northern Mexico, but there was no immediate evidence that a rival cartel had been targeted in Villa Union

The attack will likely fuel Trump’s argument for categorizing drug cartels as “foreign terrorist organizations,” just as groups like al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram

“The toolbox that you use to confront terrorist organizations is very different from the tool box that you need to confront the roots of organized crime”

Those who do make it past Tapachula now face new U.S. policies that make it much harder to cross the southern border and apply for asylum

They have practically become prisoners in a shelter for migrants in the Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo, where cartels prey on migrants who venture out into the streets

Suriname

Desi Bouterse found guilty by military court over abduction and murder of 15 government critics in wake of coup

Venezuela

The situation is in sharp contrast to countries that Venezuelan leaders have held up as role models — Cuba and Russia — both of which have managed to shelter the primary education system from the worst effects of a comparable downturn

Rosneft “is the intermediary,” highlighting its importance in Venezuela’s crude oil sales strategy

This is the general mood everywhere, folks just got tired of waiting for the government to solve their problems or praying for a miracle from the opposition

The day ahead: December 2, 2019

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

I’m here in Washington all week, putting final touches on two big reports and putting together a visit next week to El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. Today, I’ve got a weekly staff meeting in the morning and should be at my desk all afternoon.

Latin America-related events in Washington this week

Monday, December 2

  • 1:30–3:00 at WOLA: Venezuela’s Humanitarian Crisis: Could an Oil-for-Food Program Work? (RSVP required).
  • 3:00–4:30 at CSIS: AMLO’s First Year in Office: Challenges and Opportunities (RSVP required).

Tuesday, December 3

  • 11:00–1:00 at the International Republican Institute: Colombia’s New Crossroads: How Venezuela’s Crisis Impacts Local Governance (RSVP required).

Wednesday, December 4

  • 9:00–11:00 at the Wilson Center: The Strategy Behind Political Repression in Venezuela (RSVP required).
  • 12:00–1:30 at Refugees International: Voices from the Border: Voices of the Remain in Mexico Policy (RSVP required).

Thursday, December 5

  • 10:00 in Room 419, Dirksen Senate Office Building: Hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues on Illicit Mining: Threats to U.S. National Security and International Human Rights.
  • 3:00–5:00 at the Old Japanese Ambassador’s Residence: Japan’s Technological and Infrastructure Engagement with LAC: Toward Stronger Ties? (RSVP required).
  • 4:00–5:30 at the Wilson Center: Electoral Bodies & Democratic Governance in Mexico: A Conversation with Dr. Lorenzo Córdova Vianello (RSVP required).
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