Adam Isacson

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

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Rocío San Miguel, now a political prisoner, discusses politicization of Venezuela’s military in 2010

I don’t get to work on Venezuela very often, but I did get to record a conversation in 2010 with activist and civil-military relations expert Rocío San Miguel. Here’s an excerpt where we discussed the military’s politicization.

Rocío was arrested last Friday in Caracas. Authorities are accusing her of terrorism and treason, which is as horrifying as it is absurd.

Weekly Border Update Promo Video

I haven’t done one of these since October.

It’s a 43-second video, but it takes nearly two and a half hours to script, make graphics, film, edit, add subtitles, and export 16:9 and 9:16 versions.

I’m still not convinced these are the best use of my time, but as with the infographics and the podcasts, I think it’s important to experiment with formats other than text. (Even though my 1980s-90s liberal arts education barely equips me for it.)

At VOA’s Foro Interamericano: El Salvador define su futuro político

Here (en español) is a panel discussion, recorded Friday, on Voice of America. I joined Salvadoran analyst Napoleón Campos to talk about the implications of authoritarian-trending leader Nayib Bukele’s likely blowout re-election victory in today’s election in El Salvador.

Video: Migration Dynamics: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities in the Northern Triangle

(Not sure why I’m making that facial expression.)

Many thanks to New York-based Network 20/20, an organization “that bridges the gap between the private sector and foreign policy worlds,” for inviting me to participate in a virtual panel last Thursday. With Elizabeth Oglesby of the University of Arizona and Diego de Sola of Glasswing International, we talked about the causes of migration away from Central America, and the good and bad of U.S. policies, past and present.

Video: “Migrant Justice in Times of Militarized Borders”

This was a great panel on November 7, with speakers in four countries (the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia). We talked about challenges for dignified migration at a time of hardening borders and more military and police involvement in migration control throughout the region.

Many thanks to Hispanics in Philanthropy and Open Society Foundations for organizing it and inviting me to participate.

At WOLA: Migration Can’t and Shouldn’t Be Blocked. But it Can be Managed.

Here’s an 1,100-word statement recalling and highlighting some of the basic principles underlying our border and migration work. Backed up with lots of numbers and data, of course.

The main points:

  1. Most migrants arriving in the United States are exercising their right to seek asylum
  2. The United States needs to invest in managing, in a humane and timely manner, migrants and asylum seekers—NOT in more border security
  3. Legislative proposals from “border hawks,” like the “Secure the Border Act” (H.R2), would endanger thousands of lives

Read it here. It comes with an embedded video:

Video for This Week’s Border Update

I think I’m getting better at making these? Obtaining a cheap teleprompter helped.

In this week’s WOLA U.S.-Mexico Border Update:

  • Two breaking items: new border wall and Venezuela deportations
  • Border Patrol apprehended about 210,000 migrants in September
  • Proposals call for increasing deportations from Mexico and Panama
  • Mexico updates
  • Darién Gap updates

Video: A lot of migration at the border isn’t “illegal.”

We hear a lot that people at the U.S.-Mexico border are being allowed into the United States “illegally.” Well, no.

For decades, U.S. law has stated that if you fear for your life or freedom if returned to your country, you are entitled to due process. Asylum seekers are doing something legal. And many of them qualify.

Here’s a two-minute explanation:

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