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: Latin America and the Crisis of Globalization and Multilateralism

Here’s a tri-continental podcast that I recorded yesterday and posted today. It was fun to do, especially since the tech mostly held up. A paper published in March by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s Latin America Regional Security Program takes stock of the complicated geopolitical, institutional, economic, and social moment that Latin America and the Caribbean today. It […]

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Lars Schoultz: “I Wrote This Book for People Like You”: Lars Schoultz takes on U.S. “uplifters” of Latin America

I’ve been reading Lars Schoultz’s scholarship on U.S.-Latin America relations since I was in college, and I was delighted that he would record a podcast. The longtime professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill published an award-winning book in 2018, In Their Own Best Interest. In it, he takes to task U.S. policymakers […]

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WOLA Podcast: Investing in Amazon Crude: Oil, Finance, and Survival

Despite the grim subject matter, I enjoyed recording this conversation with two colleagues whom I’ve known for many years. I also don’t know much at all about the topic, so a lot of their recent report was new to me. They handled my basic questions very well. Here’s the text from WOLA’s website: Preserving the […]

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WOLA Podcast: Soldiers and Civilians in Latin America Today

Here’s a conversation we recorded late Friday over a beer. After nearly 30 years of movement away from military rule and toward civilian democracy, Latin America’s armed forces are again playing larger, more political roles. The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the trend, with the danger that having soldiers on the streets may again become “normalized” […]

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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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Colombia podcast with Toby Muse

Here’s today’s WOLA Podcast. We should have some going up tomorrow and Friday as well. Toby Muse spent almost two decades as a foreign correspondent in Colombia, where he traveled to dozens of places affected by the war on drugs and recorded innumerable conversations with people—participants in the drug trade, officials, reformers, and victims caught […]

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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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