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.

Politics and Security

Two speeches show the bipolar nature of Colombia’s new ruling party

Inauguration day in Colombia, August 7, will be remembered for two speeches that left observers scratching their heads about what direction the new government of President Iván Duque will take the country. Duque gave an hourlong speech listing dozens of policy priorities. There were so many, it was hard to pick out those he viewed […]

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An early incident casts doubt on the incoming Colombian president’s independence—and the peace accord’s future

An incident late last week in Bogotá, getting reported as hearsay in Colombia’s media, raises serious concerns about the independence of President-Elect Iván Duque from his patron, the hardline former president and current Senator Álvaro Uribe. It also raises concerns that the peace accord with the FARC, which Duque and Uribe both criticize but Duque […]

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President No

The votes are counted in Colombia. Today’s elections were not a “second referendum” on the 2016 peace accord with the FARC: issues like corruption, a semi-collapsed healthcare system, and Venezuela’s crisis came to the fore. Nonetheless, the coalition that criticized negotiations to end Colombia’s conflict with the FARC, and narrowly won an October 2016 plebiscite […]

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The past week in Colombia’s peace process

(Week of May 27 – June 2) First-Round Election Results: Petro vs. Duque As polls predicted, no single candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote in Colombia’s May 27 first-round presidential election. The candidates who will go on to a second round runoff on June 17 are rightist Senator Iván Duque and leftist […]

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This is a striking graphic

Although the peace accord was reportedly a low priority among Colombian voters, this graphic of Sunday’s first-round presidential vote shows a sharp divergence between the half of the country that voted “yes” for the FARC peace accord on October 2, 2016, and the half of the country that voted “no.”

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Who won where yesterday in Colombia

Many thanks to GitHub user “infrahumano” for posting all municipal data about yesterday’s presidential election in Colombia. Crunching those numbers yields interesting results: Poorer and historically conflictive parts of Colombia went for former Bogotá mayor Gustavo Petro. Wealthier parts of Colombia went for former Medellín mayor Sergio Fajardo. Parts of Colombia that are neither too […]

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Talking Colombian elections on WBEZ Worldview

Here’s an 11-minute interview from yesterday with Jerome McDonnell, the veteran and deeply knowledgeable host of Worldview on WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR station. We look at Colombia’s upcoming elections and the state of peace accord implementation. These interviews, especially live ones like this, are nerve-wracking, even when it’s a topic I follow closely. Time is very limited, […]

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The Post-Election Surge in Honduran Migrants

As even a Google search of the word “caravan” will tell you, the Trump administration is freaked out about a jump in migration from Central America since March. Children and families from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are once again crossing the border and seeking out U.S. authorities to petition for asylum or other protected […]

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Amazing poster from Nicaragua’s protests

As a young man, illegitimately elected Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega overthrew dynastic dictator Anastasio Somoza. As an old man, Daniel resembles Tacho II more than he differs from him.

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Last Week in Colombia’s Peace Process

(We’re catching up on overdue updates. This one covers the week of March 18-24.) Duque Pulls Ahead in Presidential Polls After handily winning a primary of right-wing candidates that accompanied March 11 legislative elections, Bogotá Senator Iván Duque has rapidly emerged as the frontrunner for the May 27 presidential elections. Duque, the candidate of far-right […]

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Last Week in Colombia’s Peace Process

(We’re catching up on overdue updates. This one covers the week of March 11-17.) Congressional Elections Colombians went to the polls on March 11, and elected a Congress that looks a lot like the one they elected in 2014. Right-of-center parties made hair-thin gains, mainly in the House of Representatives. Parties that remain mostly supportive […]

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Last week in Colombia’s Peace Process

Congressional Elections Are This Sunday Colombians go to the polls on March 11 to elect new members of a 108-person Senate and a 172-person House of Representatives. All will serve four-year terms. Regardless of the result, at least five from each house will be members of the political party formed by the former FARC guerrillas. […]

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Last week in Colombia peace process

This post is several days overdue because of travel—it covers the week of January 28-February 3. Wave of violence intensifies Violence involving guerrillas, guerrilla dissidents, or organized crime forced 2,560 people to flee their homes in January, according to CODHES, an NGO that tracks forced displacement. Of the displaced, 230 were forced out in mass […]

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Last week in Colombia’s peace process

In third week after end of ELN ceasefire, violence intensifies Talks in Ecuador between the government and the ELN made no progress more than two weeks after the non-renewal of a 100-day cessation of hostilities, which ended on January 9. Last week, events on the battlefield made the situation worse. In the early morning hours […]

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Priorities for 2018

(2,245 words, approximate reading time 8 minutes, 58 seconds) At work, my title is “director for defense oversight.” Work is the Washington Office on Latin America, an effective, growing think-tank-advocacy-organization. It promotes human rights and democracy in U.S. policy toward the Western Hemisphere. That means I pay attention to the whole region, not a single […]

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