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.

Archives

Categories

Get a weekly update in your email




Politics and Security

WOLA Podcast: Rebelocracy: Social Order in the Colombian Civil War

Ana Arjona on the findings of her award-winning 2016 study Here’s an interview with Ana Arjona, director of the Center for the Study of Security and Drugs (CESED) at Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. Professor Arjona is the author of the […]

Read More

WOLA Podcast on Guatemala’s “backlash of the corrupt”

Only a few years ago, Guatemala was making historic gains in its fight against corruption and human rights abuse. Since then, the country has suffered a severe backlash. A “pact of the corrupt” in Guatemala’s ruling elite keeps pushing legislation that would terminate trials and investigations for war crimes and corruption. A U.S.-backed UN prosecutorial […]

Read More

I was right about Venezuela in 1999—but I didn’t do enough about it.

Francisco Toro and James Bosworth, founders of two of the longest-running Latin America blogs (Caracas Chronicles and Bloggings by Boz, respectively), have a good column on the Washington Post website today, warning about how authoritarian populist leaders—right or left—screw up their countries’ delicate civil-military relations. There seems to be something about men in uniform that […]

Read More

Lights are going out around the region

What a horrible three days for press freedom in the Americas. On Friday, Nicaraguan police raided, and trashed, the offices of the investigative web publication Confidencial, which has been an indispensable and very credible source of coverage of the country’s slide into democracy. Confidencial has been around since 1996. Over the weekend El Nacional, which […]

Read More

“Concrete actions”

Nicaraguan journalist Dánae Vílchez in the Washington Post on Friday: The United States has taken some important steps, including the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act that was approved this week by Congress, a bill that would place conditions on the “approval of loans to the Ortega regime by international financial institutions,” and expand the Magnistky sanctions on people […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Writing from a long Miami airport layover

I’m back from Havana. This is the second time I’ve participated in an annual “series of conversations” between U.S. and Cuban scholars and diplomats—the last time was 2013. It was an honor to be on the list of invited Americans, most of whom—unlike me—are Cuba specialists. It was a lot of panels, and I learned […]

Read More

The End of One-Party Rule is the End of Trump’s Border Wall

Even before the Democratic Party won majority control of the House of Representatives, it wasn’t clear how Donald Trump was going to be able to get his border wall through Congress, which must approve the funding for it. Senate rules make it possible to block big budget outlays—like $25 billion for a wall—if 60 senators […]

Read More

My pessimistic (or perhaps realistic) House spreadsheet

I hesitate to share this because it reveals how unhinged the midterm elections have made me. But here’s a spreadsheet of 70 House districts that could conceivably go either way in tomorrow’s vote. To win a majority of the House of Representatives, Democrats will have to carry 33 of these 70. Nearly half. That is, […]

Read More

The new Brazil

From Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept: Last week, one candidate from Bolsonaro’s party, Rodrigo Amorim, shocked and disgusted even some far-right supporters. Wearing a t-shirt with a pistol pointed forward, he took, destroyed, and then on social media proudly displayed an unofficial street sign made to commemorate the life of Marielle Franco, the black, LGBT human […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Un-Uribe-like

One of the central questions in Colombian politics this year: how independent is the new president, Iván Duque—a 42-year-old technocrat with a light political resume—from his political party’s 500-watt boss, the incendiary far-right former president Álvaro Uribe? The word “puppet” gets tossed around a lot. But Duque is in fact showing some genuine flashes of […]

Read More

I keep rereading this paragraph

“For many Argentines, then, the military represented not a subjugation to arbitrary rule, but a release from the frustrations, complexity, and compromises of representative government. A large part of society clasped with joy the extended hand of totalitarian certainty. Life was suddenly simplified by conformity to a single, uncontested power. For those who cherish democracy, […]

Read More

The past week in Colombia’s peace process

(Week of August 12-18) Constitutional Court Upholds, Modifies Law Governing Transitional Justice System Colombia’s maximum judicial review body, the Constitutional Court, completed an 8½-month review of the law governing the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which is the body that the peace accords set up to put on trial, and punish, those who committed war […]

Read More
Older Posts
Get a weekly update in your e-mail:




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