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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Podcast

WOLA Podcast: Searching for Mexico’s Disappeared

With two very good guests in two parts of Mexico, I’m really glad the technology held up on this one. It was well worth the high-wire act. Here’s the text of the summary at wola.org. Listen above, or download the .mp3 file here. More than 60,000 people have disappeared in Mexico since 2006. As a […]

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WOLA Podcast: “There are 15,000 people waiting without access to asylum”

Savitri Arvey of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S.-Mexico Center has co-written a series of reports documenting U.S. authorities’ two-year-old practice of “metering” asylum seekers along the Mexico border, forcing them in precarious conditions in dangerous Mexican border towns for weeks or months at a time. The quarterly reports that Arvey and colleagues […]

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WOLA Podcast: “Beyond the ‘Narco-State’ Narrative”

I’ll be going back to an interview format for tomorrow’s podcast (if all goes according to plan). Today’s episode, though, is the audio track of a March 20, 2020 WOLA webinar about criminality and corruption in Venezuela, and the viability of a political exit to the crisis. This event is based on a March 11 report by WOLA’s Geoff Ramsey and David […]

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Podcast: Peru’s Anti-Corruption Reform Drive

Four podcasts in four days. I don’t know if I’ll keep up the pace, but I’ll stay close. Hopefully these are making life a bit more tolerable for some people out there. In today’s conversation, Cynthia McClintock of George Washington University gives an overview of the current political moment in Peru, where an ongoing anti-corruption […]

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“Guerrilla Marketing” in Colombia

Here, at the WOLA Podcast, is a conversation with Alex Fattal, whose 2018 book “Guerrilla Marketing” tells the story of the Colombian military’s employment of advertising campaigns to convince guerrillas to demobilize during the country’s armed conflict. His work explores the overlap between national security, global capitalism, and “branding.” The podcast is above, or download the […]

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Here Come the WOLA Podcasts

Everybody we know is home and on the internet, being “socially distant” for the good of society. Why not start recording conversations with them? I usually put WOLA’s podcast out 1-2 times per month because my schedule is full and so are those of anyone I’d want to interview. I often spend as much time […]

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WOLA Podcast: How Corruption Continues to Erode Citizen Security in Central America

Here’s a podcast recorded last Friday with Adriana Beltran and Austin Robles from WOLA’s Central America / Citizen Security program. We talk mostly about setbacks to the anti-corruption fight in Guatemala and Honduras. Good thing we didn’t talk about El Salvador too much, because two days after this conversation, President Nayib Bukele set everything on […]

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WOLA Podcast: What the State of the Union Means for Latin America

It’s great to have a new digital communications person on staff: podcasts are now starting to come out quickly, without me having to initiate and edit them. Yesterday, the morning after Trump’s State of the Union, Lizette Alvarez sat three of us down to talk about the president’s several mentions of issues we work on. […]

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WOLA Podcast: A Week on the Border

While in El Paso last week, I recorded a podcast with WOLA’s new director for digital strategy, Lizette Alvarez. (The first time I’ve been the interviewee instead of the interviewer!) Here, at 6:30am in my hotel room, I talk about what we’d been seeing and hearing in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. You can almost […]

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WOLA Podcast on Venezuela: New Year, New Political Tumult

For Venezuela, 2020 began with new political turmoil, as the Maduro government maneuvered to take over the presidency of the opposition-majority National Assembly. Will this backfire for Maduro? Can the opposition maintain unity? Are negotiations toward new elections feasible? Is the U.S. government sending a coherent message? What about other international actors, like the EU […]

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WOLA Podcast: Bolivia’s Post-Evo Meltdown

Here’s a podcast recorded yesterday with Kathryn Ledebur, a longtime Bolivia expert and colleague who directs the Andean Information Network in Cochabamba, Bolivia. We discuss: The election process and the events leading up to Morales’s resignation. The disorder and violence following the election, and missed opportunities to achieve an institutional solution to the crisis. The role of […]

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WOLA Podcast: Resisting Repression in Nicaragua

I recorded this Tuesday morning with Julio Martínez of Nicaragua’s Articulación de Movimientos Sociales. Julio was an active participant in the 2018 protest movement against the Ortega regime; he got out and is now doing graduate work in New York. Here, we talk about civil society’s fight to stop human rights abuses and restore democracy […]

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WOLA Podcast: Rebelocracy: Social Order in the Colombian Civil War

Ana Arjona on the findings of her award-winning 2016 study Here’s an interview with Ana Arjona, director of the Center for the Study of Security and Drugs (CESED) at Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. Professor Arjona is the author of the […]

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WOLA Podcast on Guatemala’s “backlash of the corrupt”

Only a few years ago, Guatemala was making historic gains in its fight against corruption and human rights abuse. Since then, the country has suffered a severe backlash. A “pact of the corrupt” in Guatemala’s ruling elite keeps pushing legislation that would terminate trials and investigations for war crimes and corruption. A U.S.-backed UN prosecutorial […]

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Podcast: “U.S.-Colombia Relations ‘in a Challenged Place'”

It’s nice to put one of these out again, for the first time in 2 1/2 months. Relations between the United States and close ally Colombia have hit their roughest patch in years. The situation is aggravated by the Trump administration’s much darker view of the FARC peace accord, and open disagreement about how to […]

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