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.

U.S. Aid

U.S.-Aided Units in Honduras

As a likely election theft proceeds in Honduras, the country’s security forces are playing a central role in putting down protest. Since the U.S. government has closely supported the Honduran military and police since the cold war, we need to know whether U.S.-aided units are backing authoritarian behavior and abusing protesters’ rights. Here is a […]

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Special Forces trainings in Latin America aren’t declining, despite the reported numbers

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, we obtained (heavily redacted) reports detailing U.S. Special Operations Forces’ training deployments around the world. (Reports since 2014 are here; earlier ones are at Security Assistance Monitor.) This allowed me to update a table that ran in an August 2016 WOLA commentary about these trainings in Latin America. That […]

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2 articles since Friday

One is in English, but paywalled; one is in Spanish. Both are about Colombia: To Deal With Colombia’s Coca Bonanza, Keep Calm and Honor the FARC Peace Deal, published June 2 at World Politics Review. Despite record coca production in Colombia, the peace accord presents a gigantic opportunity to achieve permanent reductions in the crop—unless Colombia’s ruling elite […]

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Hopefully this 2018 foreign aid budget request is dead on arrival in Congress

The Trump administration issued its 2018 budget request to Congress today. We’ll have a proper memo out about this tomorrow. For now, here’s a crude graphic that shows pretty clearly how radical and irresponsible the foreign aid part of the request is. The Homeland Security request, meanwhile, proposes to build 74 miles of border wall […]

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U.S. Aid to Colombia in 2017

Here’s a graphic, and the appendix, of a piece I co-authored with WOLA’s Colombia senior associate, Gimena Sánchez, in advance of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’s May 17-19 visit to Washington. Read the whole thing here. Appendix: U.S. Aid to Colombia in 2017 The 2017 omnibus appropriation for Colombia approves approximately $450 million in assistance. It would go through […]

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WOLA Podcast: The Central America Monitor

Congress appropriated $750 million in aid for Central America for 2016, and $655 million more for 2017. What’s in these aid packages? Which countries are getting what? What do U.S.-funded programs propose to do? Are they achieving their goals? Next Wednesday (May 17) my colleague Adriana Beltrán, who runs WOLA’s Citizen Security program will join […]

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“Peace Colombia” aid is still in the 2017 appropriation

The table of aid to Colombia following this paragraph comes from the explanatory statement for the State Department and foreign aid part of the 2017 budget bill (PDF). It reflects the deal struck in Congress on Sunday to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, averting a government shutdown. And here is […]

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White House proposes 38.9 percent cut in economic aid to Latin America

On Monday, Foreign Policy reporters Bryant Harris, Robbie Gramer, and Emily Tamkin shared a draft 2018 budget document (PDF) that they somehow obtained from the Trump administration. It’s a printout of a table showing how the White House would cut economic aid to the world in its 2018 budget request for the U.S. Agency for […]

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Launched! “Putting the Pieces Together”

I’m delighted to announce that WOLA has just launched “Putting the Pieces Together: A Global Guide to U.S. Security Aid Programs.” This is an epic, sprawling, deep-in-the-weeds attempt to get a handle on all the ways that the U.S. government can work with, give weapons to, train, advise, or otherwise support about 160 countries’ militaries […]

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A huge archive of U.S. policy toward Colombia—as it stood 10 years ago

Between 1999 and 2007, when I worked at the Center for International Policy (CIP), I made and maintained a huge online archive about Colombia. I was pretty intense about keeping a thorough record of what was happening. My Colombia page had copies of every report or document we wrote, everything I saw that a public U.S. official said […]

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