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. Policy

WOLA Podcast: Taking a Chainsaw to Cuba Policy

I posted this to wola.org on Thursday: The Trump administration has gone full hard-line against Cuba, announcing severe new measures—including a once-unthinkable authority to allow owners of seized Cuban property to sue in U.S. courts. WOLA’s vice president for programs, Geoff Thale, explains why these new punishments and restrictions won’t bring “regime change” to the […]

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The trashing of a once useful State Department report

Every March, the State Department publishes an annual report, required by law, providing a global survey of what countries around the world are doing to reduce supply and demand for illicit drugs. The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) is a bit of a drug-war relic, but it contains a lot of information unavailable elsewhere, […]

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Back to the border

I’m back from my third visit to the San Diego-Tijuana border so far this year. I spent much of Monday with U.S. authorities, CBP and Border Patrol. Tuesday was an excellent day-long meeting with non-governmental groups from all four border states. I went to Tijuana on Wednesday, and on Thursday met with civic leaders and […]

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On Colombia’s peace process, the U.S. government has moved from “support” to “opposition”

On March 10, Colombian President Iván Duque sent a shock wave through the country’s delicate peace process with the former FARC guerrillas. He sent several objections to Congress—sort of a line-item veto—about the law underlying the transitional justice system at the heart of the accord, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP). All governments that have […]

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The March migration numbers

Yesterday U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released its statistics for March. They show that Border Patrol apprehended the largest monthly total of migrants since April 2007. But unlike back then, when nearly all migrants were single Mexican adult males, this time two thirds were children or parents. Most of them from Honduras and Guatemala, […]

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Good morning from the Tijuana port of entry

Here’s 3 1/2 minutes of me talking into my phone near a grim daily ritual: dozens of migrants queuing up for the weeks-long waitlist for their chance to cross to U.S. soil and request asylum.

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Can Trump really stop all aid to Central America? Yes, but not really.

The New York Times reports: The State Department issued a statement late on Friday saying: “At the secretary’s instruction, we are carrying out the president’s direction and ending FY 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle. We will be engaging Congress as part of this process.” I’m not a lawyer, and […]

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WOLA Podcast: A Humanitarian Crisis, Not a National Emergency

Here’s a conversation with my WOLA colleague Maureen Meyer about the border, which we recorded last Thursday afternoon and posted last Friday morning. U.S. and Mexican border communities are contending with a surge of asylum-seeking children and parents, arriving by the thousands each day. The Trump administration portrays it as a “national emergency” and is […]

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WOLA Podcast: What next in Venezuela?

Here’s a conversation recorded yesterday with Geoff Ramsey, who works on Venezuela full-time at WOLA. I wanted Geoff to talk about how to help restore democracy in Venezuela without a military intervention—but also without vague “dialogues” that just buy time for Maduro. He gave me a lot to work with. We’re both fast talkers, so […]

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Thinking about the unthinkable: U.S. military intervention in Venezuela

Es más o menos aceptable la traducción automática de Google al español de este artículo. Disclaimer: I’m not WOLA’s Venezuela expert. I’ve only visited the country once. Most of what I know about the country comes from press and NGO reports. The following exercise is me considering the unthinkable based on years of studying defense […]

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Top-line notes from my February 11-20 border trip

I spent the week of February 11, and some of this week, in San Diego and Tijuana. It was like holding down two jobs. Each day: At 4:30am, I’d go to the airport and escort migrant families to the flights that, in most cases, relatives had purchased for them. The San Diego Rapid Response Network […]

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