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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Some articles I found interesting this morning

Nick Phillips photo at Nogales International. Caption: “A Nogales, Sonora police officer calls out numbers on the waiting list for asylum-seekers on Tuesday, Jan. 7.”

(Even more here)

January 14, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

Instead of going it alone on symbolic projects, a range of Chinese institutional investors now see benefits in operating more like their international counterparts, working in partnerships and seeking long-term returns

Provost planned to retire in December from the 21,000-person organization, but the 24-year Border Patrol employee was forced to put her plans on hold due to infighting at CBP over whether a white or nonwhite person should replace her

The Pentagon funds would be extracted, for the second year in a row, from military construction projects and counternarcotics funding

Environmental advocates and border residents opposing the wall filed an emergency motion on Friday asking the appeals court in San Francisco to halt the funding

The money would be stripped from Defense Department construction and counterdrug projects, the officials said

Pieces of that wall will go directly through the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge because it is land already owned by the federal government

The wall, they say, can help slow migrants who hope to evade capture. But asylum seekers—who make up the majority of crossers for the past half-decade—are looking to surrender

The U.S. Army is transferring three Black Hawk helicopters to the El Paso Air Branch to replace older UH-1N Huey helicopters now being retired

Although just over 60 percent of all asylum applications were denied in this period, slightly less than half of applications – just 49 percent – in the top five courts were denied

Colombia

Quizás por la mención de que la información ilegal supuestamente llegaba a un político del Centro Democrático, entre todas las reacciones del partido que lideró la Seguridad Democrática no hay ninguna que demuestre curiosidad por indagar a fondo

Según el oficial, el golpe lo habrían planeado desde Venezuela alias el Paisa e ‘Iván Márquez’, dos líderes de la exguerrilla de las Farc

He informed the Chamber that pervasive violence in conflict-affected areas continues to threaten peace and pointed to several “profoundly worrying developments” by outlawed armed groups

“No tengo la menor duda de que es la retaliación por denunciar y prevenir hechos de corrupción al interior del Ejército, en los que mucha gente deja de lucrarse de contratos, eso genera molestias”

A finales del año pasado, el Gobierno nacional presentó varios resultados de seguridad de 2019 y afirmó que hay una reducción de los asesinatos de líderes cercana al 25%

Tiene que ver con el modelo de construcción de Estado que se dio a través del tiempo, con un énfasis fuertemente centralizado

En Magüí Payán, Roberto Payán y Barbacoas hay un aumento significativo de homicidios y desplazamiento. Comunidades enteras de las zonas rurales están dejando sus tierra para refugiarse en Tumaco y el pacífico ecuatoriano

El Salvador, Guatemala

El exdiputado pecenista Roberto Silva Pereira, deportado por Estados Unidos, ya guarda prisión a la espera de un juicio pendiente por lavado de dinero y cohecho. Su regreso reabre uno de los pasajes más oscuros de la historia política salvadoreña y guatemalteca

Guatemala

Giammattei’s stance on the matter will send an important signal on his anti-graft agenda as he begins his four year term

Jimmy Morales’ immunity will lapse for just a few hours on Tuesday before he’s sworn into Central American Parliament

Many arrive with the same question: “Where are we?”

Honduras

Honduran civil society, previously skeptical that MACCIH would work, is now largely on board

Mexico

Las cifras presentadas por el Subsecretario Encinas no son suficientes para que podamos entender el contexto en el que vivimos

In Nogales, Sonora, migrants and their advocates say that MPP has caused some to give up their goal of seeking protection in the United States. Others, while frustrated, remain undeterred

Venezuela

President Nicolás Maduro is channeling resources to Caracas while abandoning rural Venezuelans, who are often without electricity, police or currency

El enviado especial de EEUU para Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, había advertido que se generarían nuevas sanciones contra quienes obstaculizaron la elección como jefe de la Asamblea Nacional de Juan Guaidó

The day ahead: January 14, 2020

I’m hard to reach for most of the day. (How to contact me)

This morning I’m interviewing two candidates for a program assistant position, but otherwise in the office. Mid-day I head over to the annual conference of the Forum on the Arms Trade, where I’m speaking on a panel at around 12:45. I head back into the office late in the day, where I’ll be meeting with a U.S. military officer currently studying hemispheric security.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

STR/AFP via Getty Images photo at Time. Caption: “National Guard members stand guard along the banks of the Suchiate river in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas State, Mexico, to prevent illegal crossings across the border river to and from Tecun Uman in Guatemala, on July 3, 2019.”

(Even more here)

January 13, 2020

Chile

El cuerpo de los Carabineros de Chile comienza a verse cercado por los tribunales y las organizaciones internacionales de defensa de los derechos humanos debido a su responsabilidad en las masivas y sistemáticas violaciones cometidas desde el 18 de octubre

Colombia

Más de cinco generales del Ejército que han tenido que salir de la Institución o ser trasladados tras ser denunciados por hechos presuntamente ilegales fueron ascendidos a altos cargos del Ejército durante el gobierno del presidente Iván Duque

SEMANA revela las verdaderas razones que llevaron al Gobierno a retirar al comandante del Ejército, general Nicacio Martínez. Habría precipitado su salida el uso ilegal de sofisticados equipos para espiar a políticos, magistrados, generales y periodistas

Nueve reclamantes de tierras, desplazados durante el dominio paramilitar en la región, son hoy señalados de ser una banda de despojadores

Según la Policía Nacional, estos meses de silencio de Márquez y “el Paisa” fueron aprovechados para elaborar un plan que tenía como finalidad atentar contra la vida del jefe del partido político Farc

El Eln y la columna móvil Jaime Martínez se enfrentan en el sur de ese municipio por el control de las zonas que abandonaron los frentes 30 y 29 de las Farc

Comando Específico del Cauca, una nueva fuerza diseñada para entrar a fortalecer la seguridad del departamento, que fue uno de los que reportó más hechos violentos durante 2019

El coronel inquiere a Palacios a que, en caso de estar afirmando que hay connivencia entre las Fuerzas Militares y “grupos armados al margen de la ley”, facilite “nombre o apellidos de los miembros de la fuerza pública, el lugar y la fecha en la que se cometieron tales ilícitos

Cuba

Edel González Jiménez says he is not a defector, but a firm believer in the Cuban system who wants to see it reformed

Haiti

Hundreds of millions in aid went to U.S. corporations and the U.S. military. A fraction went to Haitian institutions

For some Haitians, in addition to navigating the country’s current and chronic problems, the anniversary might make them feel as though they’re still being attacked, both literally and figuratively, by the soil

Mexico

El comisionado visitó varias entidades del norte del país, acompañado de mandos de las fuerzas armadas

Mexico’s president pledged on Sunday that those behind a massacre that killed nine members of a U.S.-Mexican family of Mormon origin will be punished

Para Javier Sicilia, “la reconciliación y la amnistía con la que sueña el presidente López Obrador” no serán posibles si no se integra como prioridad en la agenda nacional la justicia transicional integral para las víctimas de la violencia criminal

Peru

The coming vote offers a big opportunity for Peru’s anti-corruption fight, and could set the stage for presidential elections next year

Venezuela

Insistió en que Estados Unidos no ha reiterado que “todas las opciones están sobre la mesa” en vano, sino que en efecto las consideran todas, pero actuarán conforme a una estrategia definida

The day ahead: January 13, 2020

I’ll be reachable most of the afternoon. (How to contact me)

I’m in Washington all week, though I’ve got more than 25 hours of meetings and event on the calendar, so I might be difficult to contact. I’ll be in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez for most of next week.

Today is mostly about planning. This morning I’ll be in WOLA’s weekly staff meeting, then have another internal planning meeting in the mid-afternoon. Otherwise I’ll be finishing my documents for WOLA’s annual strategic planning process. And finishing my remarks for a panel tomorrow hosted by the Forum on the Arms Trade.

Latin America-related events in Washington this week

Tuesday, January 14

Wednesday, January 15

30 favorite songs of 2019

I listen to a lot of music, though things sort of fell off during the second half of the year, when I was traveling about every other week. Still, here are some songs from last year that stood out, and have been on constant repeat, for me as the new year begins.

I hope you find a few that you’ll love too.

1- “Stay High” by Brittany Howard.

2- “Harmony Hall” by Vampire Weekend.

3- “Her Own Heart” by Hatchie.

4- “Summer Girl” by Haim.

5- “I’ve Been Dazed” by Michael Kiwanuka.

6- “Stress” by Tycho.

7- “Rocket Fuel (Feat. De La Soul)” by DJ Shadow.

8- “Love” by Sleater-Kinney.

9- “The 2nd Most Beautiful Girl in the World” by Snail Mail.

10- “Confessions” by Sudan Archives.

11- “Home” by Caribou.
12- “Red Bull & Hennessy” by Jenny Lewis.
13- “Gretel” by (Sandy) Alex G.
14- “Bags” by Clairo.
15- “Space Cadet” by beabadoobee.
16- Falling down the Stairs of Your Smile” by The New Pornographers.
17- “Dark Places” by Beck.
18- “Dylan Thomas” by Better Oblivion Community Center.
19- “It Will Never Be Simple” by Guided By Voices.
20- “Superbike” by Jay Som.
21- “Hey, Ma” by Bon Iver.
22- “Venice Bitch” by Lana Del Rey.
23- “747” by Bill Callahan.
24- “Seventeen” by Sharon Van Etten.
25- “Cattails” by Big Thief.
26- “Fail Safe” by William Tyler.
27- “Capacity” by Charly Bliss.
28- “Running” by Helado Negro.
29- “as if” by pronoun.

30- “Boys in the Better Land” by Fontaines D.C.

Here’s an Apple Music playlist:

Here’s a Spotify playlist:

Five links from the past week

  • PBS’s Frontline program ran a very good episode on how the Trump administration’s migrant crackdown has affected the twin border cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. As I noted after returning from a trip there last month, the situation is very grim there. Still, it was good to see a few people I met with there in the video.
  • Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake happened 10 years ago this week. The Miami Herald’s veteran journalist Jacqueline Charles reports from a country where many of the disaster’s victims still live in shantytowns and billions of dollars in donor funds are unaccounted for.
  • Year One of AMLO’s Mexico” is a balanced, thorough overview of the populist’s successes and failures, by Humberto Beck, Carlos Bravo Regidor and Patrick Iber in Dissent. “One year in, there is a growing sense of unease that the Fourth Transformation is not delivering the changes that Mexicans so desperately need.”
  • Jack Herrera in Politico magazine on Tijuana: “How Trump Created a New Global Capital of Exiles.” The city has a growing population of non-Spanish speaking foreigners stranded there by the Trump administration’s restrictions on asylum. Herrera profiles some of them as they weigh their options.
  • At OpenDemocracy, Mariano Aguirre reviews The State Is Always Late, a new book by a scholar who is now a senior magistrate in Colombia’s post-conflict transitional justice system. It’s a great reflection on the overlap between government and organized crime, and how a country with functioning institutions in some areas can be a “failed state” in others.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Photo from Animal Político (Mexico).

(Even more here)

January 10, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

The U.S. government sued to stop Fisher on the grounds that building so close to the Rio Grande risked changing the flow of the river and potentially pushing floodwaters into Mexico, in violation of treaty obligations

Their benchmark underscores how far construction crews still have to go to fulfill the president’s pledge to finish 450 miles by the end of 2020

Single adult apprehensions from Mexico far outpaced those from Central America in the last quarter of 2019, but most of the unaccompanied minors and families still came from Guatemala, with Honduras ranking second

Colombia

Todo ello con un telón de fondo: los malos resultados en materia de seguridad del gobierno de Iván Duque. No se ha logrado detener la expansión de las estructuras criminales

La Policía Nacional publicó el cartel de los 30 más buscados por afectación a personas en proceso de reincorporación de las Farc, de los cuales 17 son miembros de las disidencias, 10 del Eln, dos del Clan del Golfo y uno de los Pelusos

Emilio Campaña y Óscar Quintero fueron atacados en Putumayo, mientras que la lideresa Mireya Hernández murió en el municipio de Algeciras, Huila

La Unidad Nacional de Protección (UNP) capacitará a la guardia indígena para mejorar el esquema de seguridad en los resguardos

El Presidente Duque destacó que “en el año 2019 tenemos una reducción de los asesinatos de líderes sociales cercana al 25 por ciento”

El Presidente Duque subrayó el trabajo de la Fuerza Pública, que permitió la erradicación de más de 100 mil hectáreas de cultivos ilícitos

Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace has yet to determine the precise guidelines for its alternative sanctions regime. This may well be the biggest challenge

Guatemala

He cares more about promoting growth than fighting corruption

De hecho, ni siquiera cuenta con la credibilidad social, pues la misma encuesta que a lo largo de 2018 publicó Prensa Libre menciona que un 43 % de la población cree muy poco en el gobernante, en tanto que un 46 % no cree en él en absoluto

Mexico

6 expedientes aún bajo análisis son con la acusación de que la Guardia Nacional presuntamente cometió acciones y omisiones que transgreden los derechos de los migrantes

Los participantes se autodefinen como agentes libres que decidieron trabajar en una industria ilegal, pero también se definen como personas “desechables”

Venezuela

The motive may be to drive Mr Guaidó into exile. The more radical figures in the opposition (most of whom are safely abroad) want this, too

Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday urged the Trump administration to stay the course in Venezuela and reject the temptation to engage directly with Nicolas Maduro

The former Maduro regime must not be allowed to dictate the content of independent media actors. This includes allowing the exercise of the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression

The day ahead: January 10, 2020

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

Much of today will be taken up by beginning-of-year planning. I’ll be working at home in the morning on my internal planning documents (this takes a while because I work with a couple of programs at WOLA). Then we have an all-hands planning meeting in the office all afternoon.

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 and Russia? Geoff Ramsey, WOLA’s director for Venezuela, explains this moment and potential solutions.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

José A. Iglesias photo at The Miami Herald. Caption: “Women carrying produce and other goods walk by some of the tin shacks that make up the Teren Toto camp in Haiti’s capital.”

(Even more here)

January 9, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

2019 was a historic period of cooperation throughout the Western Hemisphere

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay pending the Trump administration’s appeal of a Dec. 10 decision by a federal judge that barred the funding transfer

Overall, asylum applicants waited on average 1,030 days – or nearly three years – for their cases to be decided. But many asylum applicants waited even longer

Colombia

El caso más relevante, según la entidad, tiene que ver con un contrato para la reparación de componentes de la División de Aviación y Asalto Aéreo en el que se habrían hecho pagos sin recibir el servicio a cambio

En una declaración conjunta, el jefe de la Misión de Verificación de la ONU en Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, el presidente Iván Duque y el alto consejero para la estabilización Emilio Archila, reconocieron los avances del acuerdo

Sicarios en moto asesinaron en la noche de este lunes a Gloria Ocampo, de 37 años, una reconocida líder social del Putumayo que apoyaba los programas de sustitución voluntaria

Un total de 344 personas fueron víctimas el año pasado en Colombia de minas antipersona y otros artefactos explosivos

En entrevista con El Espectador, el comandante de la operación de verificación de la denuncia, coronel Alex Eduardo Ramírez, entregó un parte de tranquilidad

Es una zona con territorios colectivos, como los de las comunidades afros e indígenas; y con un histórico abandono estatal, lo cual facilita el accionar de los grupos armados ilegales

“La actuación de los grupos paramilitares de las AGC (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, o ‘clan del Golfo’) se realiza en connivencia con la Fuerza Pública asentada en el río Atrato y en muchos otros sectores de la región del Pacífico”

Guatemala

Today, these forces are leading efforts to reverse many of the achievements made over the past 12 years so that they might regain control of government institutions

Haiti

Haitians and the international community that pledged to help the country rebuild can point to a few signs of progress

Mexico

Buscarán capacitar a las Fuerzas Armadas, funcionarios públicos, policías mexicanos y elementos castrenses de otras regiones del mundo en donde existan conflictos armados

Guatemala, Mexico

“It is more than clear that within the agreement only Salvadorans and Hondurans were to be sent,” outgoing Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said

Venezuela

A significant test will come later this week when Venezuelans decide whether or not to heed his call for a new round of protests

  • Javier Ignacio Mayorca, Fan 2020 (Tal Cual (Venezuela), January 9, 2020).

Lo sucedido el lunes 5 de enero demuestra nuevamente que la FAN es el principal pilar sobre el que se sostiene el régimen de Nicolás Maduro. Pero esa es solo una parte de la historia

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer went rogue when he attempted back-channel diplomacy with embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, according to Elliott Abrams

The day ahead: January 9, 2020

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

I’m in the office today. I’ll be recording a podcast about Venezuela in the morning, and mainly working on my annual planning documents, for WOLA’s beginning-of-year internal process, in the afternoon and early evening.

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