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. Policy

The past week in U.S. policy toward Latin America

The Trump administration’s budget request to Congress, issued May 23, has a lot of bad news for Latin America. The foreign assistance request would slash aid to the region by 35 percent. The Homeland Security request would build 74 miles of border wall and hire 500 new Border Patrol agents. The request will now undergo […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Point that saber somewhere else

From The Washington Post, reporting on a May 17 Coast Guard Academy graduation ceremony: During the commencement, Trump was presented with a ceremonial saber. After accepting it to applause, he returned to his seat next to Secretary of Homeland Security Gen. John F. Kelly. Smiling, Kelly leaned over the president and said, of the saber, “You […]

Read More

This set of charts shows why a border wall won’t stop drugs

This graphic, from a San Diego Union-Tribune article that appeared Saturday, includes data that we almost never get to see: real-time information on U.S. border authorities’ drug seizures. (Click on it, or here, to view it larger.) The data covers just one sector of the U.S.-Mexico border, which Border Patrol divides into nine sectors. This […]

Read More

The drop in Border Patrol apprehensions leveled off in April

Border Patrol reported its April apprehensions of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border last week, when I was traveling at the border. The 11,129 migrants apprehended last month broke February’s and March’s records for the fewest since Border Patrol started making monthly records available, in October 1999. But the 9 percent month-on-month decline was less steep, […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

WOLA Podcast: Looking for Glimmers of Hope in Honduras

Here’s a conversation with Sarah Kinosian, a WOLA program officer who works with me on our Defense Oversight work. Sarah is just back from a weeklong research visit to Honduras. We discuss arms trafficking, police reform, gangs, drug trafficking, migration, U.S. assistance, and Honduras’s own reform efforts, looking for evidence that anything is “working.”

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Podcast: “The Border Wall and the Budget”

The Trump White House came dangerously close to shutting down the U.S. government over funding for its proposed wall along the border with Mexico. Here I explain the budget process, what we know of the administration’s wall-building plans, and why it’s a bad idea. I think this one came out pretty well. The White House’s […]

Read More

My Latin America database now resides at “defenseoversight.wola.org”

I’ve owned the domain defenseassistance.org for several years; I use it for side projects related to work. The largest by far is one I started in mid-2015: a “database of everything” related to U.S. defense and security relations with Latin America. This mammoth resource is just about complete. So I just took away the little “this site […]

Read More

I’ll be on Colombia’s “Semana en Vivo” at 9:00 EDT / 8:00 Colombia

Today’s panel discussion at the TV talk show of Colombia’s weekly newsmagazine will ask, “Has World War III already started without us noticing?” (Or “¿Será que ya comenzó la tercera guerra mundial y no nos hemos dado cuenta?“) Sort of gives you a sense of how people around the world are viewing the Trump administration’s […]

Read More

Response to Álvaro Uribe’s whopper-filled “Message to U.S. Authorities”

(This was just posted to WOLA’s colombiapeace.org site and will go up at wola.org in a little while.) Álvaro Uribe’s Questionable “Message to U.S. Authorities” About Colombia’s Peace Effort By Adam Isacson and Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli On Easter Sunday Colombia’s former president, Álvaro Uribe, wrote a blistering attack on Colombia’s peace accords with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed […]

Read More

What is the “Trump Effect” on Migration? It’s Too Early to Draw Conclusions

WOLA just posted a new commentary that I drafted, which seeks to put into context the shocking recent U.S.-Mexico border migration statistics. February and March saw the fewest migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border since available records began in 1999. The arrival of Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric clearly has something to do with that. But […]

Read More
Older Posts
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.