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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Latin America

Latin America-related events online and in Washington this week

Monday, April 17, 2023

  • 12:00-1:00 at Center for American Progress YouTube: Guns Without Borders: Addressing the flow of U.S. firearms to Mexico and Central America (RSVP required).
  • 4:00-8:00 at Race and Equality Facebook Live: Nicaragua: 5 años de crímenes de lesa humanidad (RSVP required).

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Latin America-related events online and in Washington this week

Monday, April 10

  • 12:00-1:30 at The Brazil 100 Conference: A Look Into Lula’s First 100 Days (RSVP required).

Tuesday, April 11

  • 10:00-11:30 at Critical Minerals in LAC: The ‘S’ in ESG (RSVP required).
  • 3:30-5:00 at Georgetown University and YouTube: Seeking Truth: The Challenges and Achievements of Colombia’s Truth Commission (RSVP required).
  • 6:00-7:30 at George Washington University: Dissent in Nicaragua: A Conversation with Lesther Alemán (RSVP required).

Wednesday, April 12

  • 1:00-5:30 at Georgetown University: Overcoming Challenges to Fight Climate Change in Latin America (RSVP required).

Thursday, April 13

  • 4:00-5:00 at Georgetown University: Can Argentina Achieve Economic Stability and Inclusive Growth? (RSVP required).

Latin America-related events in Washington this week

Monday, April 3, 2023

  • 1:00-2:00 at the Wilson Center: Corruption, Accountability and Democracy in Brazil: Challenges and Solutions (RSVP required).

Thursday, April 6, 2023

  • 11:00-12:30 at George Washington University: Resurgence Of Militarism: Views From The Global South And Implications For The United States (RSVP required).

Latin America-related events in Washington and online this week

Monday, March 27, 2023

  • 5:00-6:30 at Georgetown University: The García Luna Case: Dirty Money and the War on Drugs (RSVP required).

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Thursday, March 30, 2023

  • 9:30 at the Atlantic Council and online: 2023: A pivotal moment to celebrate 200 years of US-Chile relations (RSVP required).
  • 3:00-5:00 at Georgetown University: Forty years after the US invasion of Grenada: lessons for the 21st Century (RSVP required).

Friday, March 31, 2023

  • 10:00 at Global Americans Zoom: The Implications of Climate Change for Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in the Caribbean (RSVP required).

Podcast: Cartels on the terrorist list? Military intervention in Mexico?

I just sat and recorded an episode of the solo podcast that I created when I started this website six years ago. Apparently, this is the first episode I’ve recorded since July 2017.

There’s no good reason for that: it doesn’t take very long to do. (Perhaps it should—this recording is very unpolished.) But this is a good way to get thoughts together without having to crank out something essay-length.

This episode is a response to recent calls to add Mexican organized crime groups to the U.S. terrorist list, and to start carrying out U.S. military operations against these groups on Mexican soil.

As I say in the recording, both are dumb ideas that won’t make much difference and could be counter-productive. Confronting organized crime with the tools of counter-terrorism or counter-insurgency won’t eradicate organized crime. It may ensnare a lot of American drug dealers and bankers as “material supporters of terrorism,” and it may cause criminal groups to fragment and change names. But the territories were organized crime currently operates will remain territories where organized crime still operates.

Neither proposal gets at the problem of impunity for state collusion with organized crime. Unlike “terrorist” groups or insurgencies, Latin America’s organized crime groups thrive because of their corrupt links to people inside government, and inside security forces. As long as these links persist, “get-tough” efforts like the terrorist list or military strikes will have only marginal impact.

You can download the podcast episode here. The podcast’s page is here and the whole feed is here.

Latin America-related events in Washington and online this week

Monday, March 20, 2023

  • 11:00 at the Atlantic Council and online: Weathering the storms together: Improving US humanitarian efforts (RSVP required).
  • 1:00-5:00 at the Wilson Center and online: Forum on Cyber-Harassment (RSVP required).
  • 4:00-5:30 at The Ends of Modernization: Nicaragua and the United States in the Cold War Era (RSVP required).

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Friday, March 24, 2023

Latin America-related events in Washington and online this week

Monday, March 13, 2023

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Thursday, March 16, 2023

  • 9:15-10:30 at the Inter-American Dialogue and online: A Conversation with Dante Mossi, Executive President of CABEI (RSVP required).
  • 5:00-6:00 at Witness at the Border online: Biden’s Proposed Asylum Ban: a Disaster for Children and Families (RSVP required).

The 2024 foreign aid request for Latin America and the Caribbean

Today the White House released its 2024 budget request to Congress, including some preliminary information about U.S. foreign assistance programs. The State Department’s foreign aid overview points to almost exactly $3 billion in aid requested for next year in Latin America and the Caribbean, which would be about 9 percent more than in 2022.

I took the Latin America-specific items out of the administration’s PDF and present them in a Google Sheet with two tabs, one sorted by country and one sorted by program.

View in new window

This isn’t quite all of U.S. aid. The budget request mentions some global aid programs (probably including some refugee aid) that also channel resources to the Western Hemisphere, without specifying how much individual regions and countries are getting. So that would be additional. In addition, probably 200 or 300 million dollars in assistance goes to the region’s security forces through the Defense budget, and that’s neither reported well nor reflected here.

So the real 2024 total for Latin America could be closer to $4 billion. At first glance I don’t see any dramatic changes in the proposed assistance, which has followed the same general outlines since Barack Obama’s second term.

Latin America-Related Events in Washington and Online This Week

Monday, March 6, 2023

Tuesday, May 7, 2023

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Thursday, May 9, 2023

  • 8:30-5:00 at Johns Hopkins SAIS and online: 5th Annual Forum on Security Challenges in Latin America (RSVP required).
  • 9:30-11:00 at The Biden Administration’s New US Conventional Arms Transfer Policy (RSVP required).
  • 11:00 at Migration in the Caribbean: Challenges and Opportunities for a Changing Region (RSVP required).

Friday, March 10, 2023

  • 2:00-3:30 at American University: Book Talk: The Foreign Policy of The Latin American States – Approaches, Methodologies and Cases (RSVP required).

Latin America-related events in Washington and online this week

Monday, February 27, 2023

  • 1:00-1:45 at Climate-proofing the Caribbean: A partnership for the future (RSVP required).
  • 2:00 at Provea Zoom: Los laberintos de la Verdad (RSVP required).
  • 4:00-5:00 at Georgetown University: Democracies Need Robust Evidence: The Mexican Evaluation System (RSVP required).

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Thursday, March 2, 2023

  • 9:00-10:45 at the Inter-American Dialogue and at Central America Forward: A Conversation with Emily Mendrala (RSVP required).

Friday, March 3, 2023

  • 1:45-3:00 at Strengthening U.S. Cooperation on Marine Protection in Latin America (RSVP required).

Latin America-Related Events Online and in Washington this Week

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

  • 10:00-11:00 at the Wilson Center and Putting Peru Back Together (RSVP required).
  • 2:00-4:10 at Forum on the Arms Trade Annual Conference (RSVP required).
  • 3:00-4:30 at INCAE Zoom: Experiencias exitosas en gobierno digital y auditoría social (RSVP required).
  • 6:00-7:30 at Turning up the Heat on Geothermal Energy in Latin America (RSVP required).

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

  • 9:00-10:30 at Greening BRI Governance in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Beyond (RSVP required).
  • 9:30-11:30 at Promise and Peril: Migration Management Technologies in West Africa and Central America (RSVP required).
  • 11:00-12:30 at FIU Washington DC and Zoom: A Look Inside Venezuela with Julio Borges and Paola de Alemán (RSVP required).
  • 12:30-2:00 at Reckoning with Indigenous and Afro Descendant Truth: the Ethnic Chapter of Colombia’s Truth Commission Report Webinar (RSVP required).
  • 6:00-7:30 at George Washington University: Assessing the U.S. – Mexico Security Cooperation (RSVP required).

Thursday, February 23, 2023

  • 12:00 at Gobernanza punitiva y derechos humanos en Centroamérica (RSVP required).
  • 4:00-5:00 at Georgetown University: Peaceful Borders and Illicit Transnational Flows: The Case of the Americas (RSVP required).
  • 5:00-7:00 at George Washington University: A Conversation with Ambassador Juan Jose Gomez Camacho (RSVP required).

Saturday, February 25, 2023

  • 5:00-7:00 at Busboys and Poets 14th Street: Indigenous Cinematic Resistance in the Amazon (RSVP required).

Latin America-related events online and in Washington this week

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

  • 10:00-11:00 at Georgetown University Zoom: A Conversation with Robert W. Thomas, Chargé d’Affaires of the United States Embassy in Santo Domingo (RSVP required).
  • 3:00-4:00 at the Wilson Center: Reflections on President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Visit to Washington (RSVP required).

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Thursday, February 16, 2023

  • 1:00-2:00 at the Wilson Center: A Conversation with Inter-American Development Bank President Ilan Goldfajn (RSVP required).
  • 5:00-6:15 at Witness at the Border Journey for Justice: Reporting Back (RSVP required).

Friday, February 17, 2023

  • 12:00-1:30 at George Washington University: Making Sense of Immigration Data: A Conversation With TRAC (RSVP required).

Latin America-related events online and in Washington this week

Monday, February 6, 2023

  • 10:30-11:15 at Press Briefing: Previewing President Biden’s Meeting with President Lula of Brazil (RSVP required).
  • 4:00-5:00 at Georgetown University: Spotlight on the Americas: World Economic Outlook 2023 (RSVP required).

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Friday, February 10, 2023

  • 4:15-6:00 at the Inter-American Dialogue and Between Radicalization and Prospects for Change in Nicaragua (RSVP required).

Latin America-related events online and in Washington this week

Monday, January 30, 2023

  • 4:00-5:00 at Georgetown University and YouTube: Latin America and the Caribbean in 2023: What to Expect? (RSVP required).

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Thursday, February 2, 2023

  • 12:00 at Johns Hopkins Zoom: Peru’s Crisis in the Latin American Context (RSVP required).

Latin America Security-Related News: January 25, 2023

(Even more here)

January 25, 2023

Western Hemisphere Regional

A blow-by-blow account of controversies at the CELAC summit in Argentina. The body will next be presided by St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Bolivia, Colombia

As Colombia’s government moves away from forced coca eradication, Bolivia’s experience carries some “replicatable” lessons

Bolivia, Colombia, Peru

Peru sends Colombia a protest note after Gustavo Petro condemns the security forces’ raid on a Lima university


“Well armed gold miners” have kept food and medical care from reaching the Yanomami reservation in Brazil’s Amazon. An official calls for military intervention


“The shift away from crop eradication means that the success of Petro’s anti-narcotic efforts now hinges on other measures, of which there are few details.” Cites WOLA

Gustavo Petro and Chris Dodd meet at the CELAC summit. Drug policy and extradition of armed-group leaders engaged in negotiations appear to be on the agenda

The Petro government extends the UN Human Rights office’s mandate for nine more years


This year’s elections process will determine whether Guatemala can still be called a democracy


The killing of a young man in Cortés highlights the need for police reform in Honduras


The military’s internal security role is supposed to “support” police. But now they don’t even have to notify the police about arrests

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.