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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Politics and Security

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 […]

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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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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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Nicaragua and Latin America’s “rancid” left

Some unnamed Nicaraguan student protest leaders, interviewed by Plaza Pública while on a visit to Guatemala, have run out of patience with the moldy 20th-century Latin American leftists who—out of misplaced “solidarity”—won’t speak out against Daniel Ortega’s abuses. Plaza Pública: You define yourselves as leftists, but the Ortega government holds up the flag of the […]

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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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