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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U.S. Aid

Last Month’s U.S. Government Reports Relevant to Latin America

Vice Admiral Craig S. Faller, Advance Questions for Vice Admiral Craig S. Faller, USN Nominee for Commander, United States Southern Command (Washington: Senate Armed Services Committee, September 25, 2018). Written answers to questions submitted by the Senate Armed Services Committee to the nominee to head Southern Command. CBP Has Not Ensured Safeguards for Data Collected […]

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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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Snapshot of U.S. aid to Colombia right now

Thought I’d share a table of current aid to Colombia. Click it to expand it in a new window. In sum, it looks like Congress will once again refuse the deep aid cuts the Trump White House had requested for 2019. Aid will continue to follow the “Peace Colombia” framework that guided assistance in 2017 […]

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What it takes to answer a simple question about U.S. military aid

This week, two people—a journalist and a congressional staffer—wrote me with variations on the same question: “How much aid is the United States giving the military and police in Honduras this year?” Seems like a simple question, but it’s not. Because U.S. government reporting to Congress is so poor, all I can give is a […]

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USAID Colombia evaluation is out

I’m very happy that the U.S. Agency for International Development has posted our independent evaluation (PDF) of its “Colombia Transforma” program, which through 2018 has supported $43 million in “rapid response” efforts to implement Colombia’s peace accord. I worked on this evaluation earlier this year; regular visitors to this site know that this work had […]

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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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