Analysis & Commentary

What’s in the Billion-Dollar Aid Request for Central America?

The proposed aid package would mostly benefit civilian institutions over "drug war" priorities. Here's how it breaks down:
On February 2 the State Department asked Congress for US$1 billion in new aid to Central America for 2016. While we await more details, the aid proposal seems to recognize the need to address the full range of root causes driving violence and lack of opportunity—and thus forced migration—in Central America's "Northern Triangle."

Obama's $1 Billion Central America Request: Great News, Now to Invest Wisely

Smart Investments Must Effectively Target Corruption, Violence, and Poverty
President Barack Obama's FY2016 budget request is a giant step in the right direction, but tackling insecurity, poor governance, and lack of economic opportunities requires being smart about directing aid to countries or agencies that have demonstrated the political will to fight corruption and impunity.

The United States Rethinks its Draconian Drug Sentencing Policies

After decades of long punishments for non-violent crimes, change is on the horizon
In this WOLA analysis, we look at recent changes in sentencing policies for drug-related crimes, and what it means for proportional punishment in the United States.

Did Raúl Castro Really Just Derail the U.S.-Cuba Talks with New Demands?

Castro’s overblown comments are neither surprising nor alarming
News stories and Twitter feeds yesterday trumpeted what sounded like new obstacles that Cuban President Raúl Castro was placing in the path of improved U.S.-Cuban relations. But the understanding of what Castro said, and what it means, has been mostly wrong.

Advocating for Drug Policy Reform at the United Nations

UNGASS in 2016 will offer the highest-level debate on drug policy in recent history
In April 2016, the United Nations will convene a General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) specifically related to drugs. Click here to learn more about what WOLA is hoping the historic event will achieve, and what we're doing to make our goals a reality.

Colombia’s Military: Supporters or Saboteurs of the Peace Process?

The Colombian military generally presents a united front in supporting the government's ongoing peace talks with FARC rebels, but there are signs of serious dissent within the officer corp. WOLA Senior Associate Adam Isacson takes a closer look.

Fact Check: is Total 'Operational Control' at the Border a Realistic Goal?

House Republicans have presented a new border bill that would punish political appointees for not obtaining the impossible: “operational control” of the border in five years, a standard that would be expensive, disruptive, and ultimately unworkable.

Forgotten on 'La Frontera': Mexican Children Fleeing Violence Are Rarely Heard

This investigative report highlights the stories of Mexican child migrants who flee to the U.S. and their treatment by U.S. and Mexican authorities. WOLA finds that the U.S. law to protect vulnerable Mexican children often fails in practice, and Mexican authorities are not doing enough to adequately protect these at-risk youths.