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

There’s No Emotionally Satisfying Response to Trump “Caravan Rage”

As the latest Central American migrant caravan limps through Chiapas, the first of up to a dozen Mexican states lying between them and the U.S. border, Donald Trump has seized on them as his best hope for maintaining a Republican majority in Congress. He and others on the U.S. right have gone into overdrive with […]

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9 Questions (and Answers) About the Central American Migrant Caravan

A new resource at WOLA’s website provides quick, fact-filled, documented and cited answers to these questions: Why are people leaving? And why are they leaving now? (Short answer: violence, corruption, climate, domestic violence, and economics.) Can Trump cut aid to Central America? (Short answer: no.) Why are people traveling as a caravan? (Short answer: safety in numbers.) […]

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The past week in Colombia’s peace process

(Week of September 30-October 6) Prosecutor’s Office Raids Transitional Justice System Headquarters On the afternoon of October 4 agents of Colombia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalía, which investigates and prosecutes crimes in the regular criminal justice system) showed up at the offices of the new, separate transitional justice system created by the peace accords (Special Peace […]

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The past week in Colombia’s peace process

(Week of September 23-29) Presidents Duque and Trump Meet in New York Seven weeks into his presidency, Colombian President Iván Duque had his first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, outside the UN General Assembly meetings in New York. “It was a great meeting,” Duque later told the Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth. “We are going […]

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New piece at Razón Pública

Many thanks to Hernando Gómez Buendía, Daniela Garzón, and the staff at Colombia’s Razón Pública for inviting me to submit a column about last week’s meeting between Trump and Colombian President Iván Duque. If you prefer Spanish, el artículo, titulado “La reunión de Duque con Trump: entretenida pero improductiva,” se puede leer aquí. Below is the version I wrote in […]

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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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The past week in Colombia’s peace process

(Week of September 16-22) UNODC Publishes Its 2017 Coca Cultivation Estimate The UN Office on Drugs and Crime published an executive summary of its 2017 estimate of coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia. The UN agency has usually produced this document, in complete form, in June or July of each year. Among the latest […]

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Ouch, this statement did not age well.

This is William Brownfield, then the assistant secretary of state for narcotics and law enforcement affairs, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on August 2, 2017: Tranche one in this four-stage Colombian strategy was the southwest. Down in Tumaco and the province of Nariño. We are unable to support that because the FARC has, […]

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Good discussion today about the origins of Central America’s violence

We covered a lot of ground in an hour and a half. To the extent that we left the audience with a conclusion: Central America has taken some initial steps to get at the causes of violence. These steps are fragile and risk reversal. This fight is going to be long and complicated, probably requiring […]

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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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Beto O’Rourke Would Be a Great Texas Senator

I first met Beto O’Rourke in October 2011 when we were both panelists at a conference at the University of Texas at El Paso. He was an El Paso city councilman with a lot of buzz around him (the next year, he would unseat his district’s sitting congressman and head to Washington). I was in […]

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The Past Week in Colombia’s Peace Process

(Week of September 9-15) ELN Talks Remain Suspended In his August 7 inaugural speech, President Iván Duque said that he would take 30 days to decide whether to continue peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas. That period has expired, and Duque did not end the talks—but he has suspended them pending the […]

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New Report: “A National Shame”

This is part three of a three-part WOLA series on the horror that the Trump administration and its “zero tolerance” policy unleashed at the U.S.-Mexico border this spring and summer—and what may come next. (Here is part one, on “zero tolerance” itself, and part two, on what happened at ports of entry.) All three are […]

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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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