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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Civil-Military Relations

Trust in security institutions across Latin America

All credit here goes to the Chile-based Latinobarómetro polling organization, which carries out an annual public-opinion survey in most of Latin America and the Caribbean. The 2018 poll (PDF) is a fascinating read. For an upcoming presentation, I wanted to know what the poll said about how Latin Americans are viewing the three government institutions […]

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Links from the Past Month about “Soldiers as Police” in Latin America

El Salvador Juan Carlos Diaz, “FAES no reportó delitos en escuelas donde dio seguridad” (La Prensa Grafica (El Salvador), November 12, 2018). El comandante saliente de la sede militar de La Unión rindió un informe sobre las acciones ejecutadas por el personal a su cargo Vanessa Jurado, “Así será el despliegue de policías y militares […]

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Civil-military relations in Latin America: links from the past month

Brazil “Brazil’s Authoritarian Without an Army” (The Economist (Uk), October 11, 2018). Soldiers are not itching for power. More likely, they would restrain Jair Bolsonaro David Noriega, “Brazilian Politics Is Backsliding Toward Militarism, and the Presidential Election Could Make It Worse” (VICE, October 5, 2018). Though Brazil has always had ultra-nationalist hardliners, what makes this […]

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Links from the past month about “Soldiers As Police” in Latin America

(All the coverage I saw last month was about Mexico.) Mexico Jorge Carrasco Araizaga, “Magistrados Reviven la Ley de Seguridad Interior” (Proceso (Mexico), September 27, 2018). Un tribunal colegiado de la Ciudad de México validó la entrada en vigor de la Ley de Seguridad Interior (LSI), aunque la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación […]

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A huge setback for civil-military relations in Guatemala

I was disappointed to see Guatemala’s military—which had briefly taken a reformist direction—aggressively, enthusiastically supporting President Jimmy Morales’s crackdown on the CICIG anti-corruption body. WOLA has just posted a piece I wrote about that. What’s happened with Guatemala’s army since August 31 obliterates a few halting steps that it had taken toward being a credible, accountable […]

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Civil-military relations in Latin America: links from the past month

Brazil Tom Wheeldon, “The Military Is Back in Brazilian Politics” (France 24 (France), September 10, 2018). When questioned by a journalist about Mourao’s speech, the head of the army, Eduardo Villas Boas described him as a “great soldier” and insisted that the military has a constitutional right to “intervene” if Brazil is “on the edge […]

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Links from the past month about “Soldiers As Police” in Latin America

Western Hemisphere Regional Rebecca Bill Chavez, “The Return of Latin America’s Military” (The New York Times, August 14, 2018). the administration has an opening this week to demonstrate commitment to our core principles by stating its opposition to the militarization of law enforcement, which represents a challenge to liberal democracy across much of Latin America […]

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Latin American civil-military relations: links from the past month

Western Hemisphere Regional Rebecca Bill Chavez, “The Return of Latin America’s Military” (The New York Times, August 14, 2018). the administration has an opening this week to demonstrate commitment to our core principles by stating its opposition to the militarization of law enforcement, which represents a challenge to liberal democracy across much of Latin America […]

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U.S.-Aided Units in Honduras

As a likely election theft proceeds in Honduras, the country’s security forces are playing a central role in putting down protest. Since the U.S. government has closely supported the Honduran military and police since the cold war, we need to know whether U.S.-aided units are backing authoritarian behavior and abusing protesters’ rights. Here is a […]

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The so-recently unthinkable, now thinkable in Brazil

In The New Yorker, Alex Cuadros explains recent comments, in a Brasilia lecture, by one of Brazil’s top generals. Gen. Antonio Hamilton Martins Mourão told the audience that, as corruption scandals continue to mount, the top brass had discussed overthrowing the government for the first time since a brutal 1964-85 military dictatorship. “Either the institutions solve the political problem through […]

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Venezuela’s 2 “black boxes”: the military and the poor

Like many of you, I spend a lot of time lately reading about Venezuela. But I’m absolutely not a Venezuela expert. Over the years, I often disagreed with the U.S. government’s approach to him, but I was never a fan of Hugo Chávez. I’ve always supported demilitarizing politics in the Americas. So naturally I spoke […]

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We’re Not Binge-Watching Netflix.

In an April speech, then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly gave a pure distillation of a point of view that I find toxic. We hear this view from a tiny sliver of people in the military or law enforcement. More often, it comes from politicians who would “unshackle” soldiers, police, or spies. This is a lengthy […]

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Links From the Last Month About: Civil-Military Relations in Latin America

Argentina Outgoing Defense Minister Julio Martínez alleged that the previous governments of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández so neglected the country’s air force that “over a hundred [aircraft] went out of service or were decommissioned.” Brazil Brazilian Army soldiers, long tasked with guarding the country’s 10,400-mile land border, are increasingly being used as police. “During […]

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Links from the last month about: civil-military relations in Latin America

Argentina Pablo Waisberg, Guillermo Peralta, “Grupo Pro Militar Escracha a Testigos de Juicios” (Perfil (Argentina), May 22, 2017). A pro-military group posted a list of journalists and others who have testified in human rights cases against leaders of Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship, calling them “subversive terrorists from the 1970s.” Brazil “Public Opinion Forces Temer to […]

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Links From the Last Month About: Civil-Military Relations in Latin America

Colombia A decree has placed a representative of Colombia’s Defense Ministry on the governing board of the Center for Historical Memory, a body of academics that has produced 92 reports since 2008 about what happened in the country’s conflict. Though a governmental body, the Center has had autonomy in how it chooses and carries out […]

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