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.

Drug Policy

This set of charts shows why a border wall won’t stop drugs

This graphic, from a San Diego Union-Tribune article that appeared Saturday, includes data that we almost never get to see: real-time information on U.S. border authorities’ drug seizures. (Click on it, or here, to view it larger.) The data covers just one sector of the U.S.-Mexico border, which Border Patrol divides into nine sectors. This […]

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Brookings post about coca and peace in Colombia

This just went up on the Brookings Institution’s “Order from Chaos” foreign policy blog. I’ll be talking about “drugs and peace” in post-conflict Colombia at a Brookings panel on Monday morning. Colombia’s peace accords point the way to a solution. But will they be implemented? The “illicit crops” part of the peace accord is more transactional […]

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Colombia’s coca problem, in less than 300 words

From Monday’s edition of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor (PDF). Q: The U.S. State Department’s annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report released in March said Colombia is the world’s top producer of cocaine and that the cultivation of coca has increased by record amounts for the past two years. What is the reason for the […]

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Last month’s U.S. government reports relevant to Latin America

(These are from my online Latin America-focused government reports library.) Colombia’s Changing Approach to Drug Policy Congressional Research Service, March 10, 2017 An overview of illicit crop eradication, drug interdiction, the recent history of U.S. counter-drug assistance, and changes likely to come with the 2016 peace accord. Southwest Border Migration U.S. Customs and Border Protection, […]

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Does Colombia have more coca now than before Plan Colombia?

Colombia’s Defense Minister let spill last night that the U.S. government’s 2016 estimate of illicit coca grown in the country is 188,000 hectares (465,000 acres). That is the most coca the USG has ever measured. Here’s what the chart looks like: 188,000 hectares is an 18 percent increase over 2015. That’s a lot, but the […]

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At WOLA’s website: Confronting Colombia’s Coca Boom

Looks like everything I’ve written over the last few days about Colombia’s coca bonanza is coming out today. This new analysis just got posted to Here, I find 7 reasons why Colombia’s coca crop has increased so quickly. Suspending aerial herbicide fumigation and not quickly replacing it with anything else. Reducing forced manual eradication and […]

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