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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Colombia

My notes from Monday’s talk at the Kroc Institute’s Colombia peace conference

I enjoyed participating in a June 10 panel discussion at a seminar in Washington, “The Colombian peace process after two years,” hosted by Notre Dame University’s Kroc Institute for International Affairs. Colombia’s 2016 peace accord gives this Institute, which maintains a database of worldwide peace processes, a formal role in monitoring the accord’s implementation. I […]

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Colombia’s return to the discredited “body count” strategy

Image of the form described in the caption.

Leer en español A May 18 New York Times article revealed an alarming shift in how Colombia’s army, under leadership that took over last December, is measuring “success” in its operations. The article got a lot of attention because of the human rights angle, especially the possibility of a return to “false positive” extrajudicial killings. […]

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It’s possible that 15% of the FARC have re-armed

Note as of June 5: Kyle Johnson at the International Crisis Group reminds me that several hundred of the FARC dissidents never demobilized in the first place: they “went dissident” even before the peace accord was signed. So although this is all very inexact, my estimate here should probably be closer to 10 percent of […]

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Duque Has Left Colombia’s Peace Process Rudderless

Here, posted to World Politics Review on Wednesday, is a look at where the ongoing drama over implementing Colombia’s peace accord stands right now. Consider it an update to this site’s April 29 “Big JEP vote in Colombia’s Senate” post. The outcome of that vote was confusing and full of the procedural legalisms in which […]

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A brazen attack recalls Colombia’s worst years

A social leader is killed nearly every other day in Colombia. Notably, nearly all of the victims have been very local leaders or activists, with no national profile. This has spread terror among social leaders, sending the message that you’re not safe no matter how unknown you are. While the most prominent national human rights […]

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Soldiers apparently caught digging a grave for a murdered ex-FARC member

At least 128 former members of the FARC guerrillas have been killed since Colombia signed its peace accord in November 2016. That’s not even counting 7-month-old Samuel David Gonzalez Pushaina, killed in an April 15 attack on his parents, both demobilized FARC members, in La Guajira. But the case of Dimar Torres, a former FARC […]

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The trashing of a once useful State Department report

Every March, the State Department publishes an annual report, required by law, providing a global survey of what countries around the world are doing to reduce supply and demand for illicit drugs. The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) is a bit of a drug-war relic, but it contains a lot of information unavailable elsewhere, […]

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On Colombia’s peace process, the U.S. government has moved from “support” to “opposition”

On March 10, Colombian President Iván Duque sent a shock wave through the country’s delicate peace process with the former FARC guerrillas. He sent several objections to Congress—sort of a line-item veto—about the law underlying the transitional justice system at the heart of the accord, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP). All governments that have […]

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Restarting Aerial Fumigation of Drug Crops in Colombia is a Mistake

Colombia’s Constitutional Court met today to discuss the government’s plans to reinstate aerial spraying of coca. President Iván Duque was the first to address the high court; he asked the justices to “modulate” their past rulings to allow more spraying. I just posted an analysis of this to WOLA’s website. It addresses a series of questions: Why did […]

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Thinking about the unthinkable: U.S. military intervention in Venezuela

Es más o menos aceptable la traducción automática de Google al español de este artículo. Disclaimer: I’m not WOLA’s Venezuela expert. I’ve only visited the country once. Most of what I know about the country comes from press and NGO reports. The following exercise is me considering the unthinkable based on years of studying defense […]

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Video and Audio of “Uncertain Times: What Lies Ahead for Colombia?”

Last week I sat down with my WOLA colleague Gimena Sánchez and with Lisa Haugaard, director of the Latin America Working Group, to talk about the state of Colombia’s peace accord implementation. All three of us had done recent fieldwork there. WOLA has posted the video to YouTube, here and embedded below. If you prefer […]

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Downloadable video and audio of our October 16 conference

Last week, WOLA posted to YouTube the five-plus-hour video of our October 16 conference, “Staying on Course: Security, Coca, Justice, and Accord Implementation in Colombia.” There, you can see the entirety of the outstanding panels in which visiting experts from Colombia talked about transitional justice, coca, and the security situation. Note that it’s in both […]

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The past week in Colombia’s peace process

(Week of September 30-October 6) Prosecutor’s Office Raids Transitional Justice System Headquarters On the afternoon of October 4 agents of Colombia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalía, which investigates and prosecutes crimes in the regular criminal justice system) showed up at the offices of the new, separate transitional justice system created by the peace accords (Special Peace […]

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The past week in Colombia’s peace process

(Week of September 23-29) Presidents Duque and Trump Meet in New York Seven weeks into his presidency, Colombian President Iván Duque had his first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, outside the UN General Assembly meetings in New York. “It was a great meeting,” Duque later told the Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth. “We are going […]

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Disarmament, Demobilization, and LinkedIn

“I remember once, in September 2016, he started to laugh because he tried to sign up on the LinkedIn social network and when he came to the page where you have to put where you worked before, he said: ‘What the [expletive] do I put? Guerrilla leader?’ He tried to skip that part but the […]

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