Analysis & Commentary

Letter to U.S. policymakers highlights violence against Colombia labor, human rights defenders

U.S. government must take action to protect the lives of prominent Colombian defenders
In a letter to U.S. policymakers, WOLA describes recent threats and attacks against human and labor rights defenders, and outlines key steps that must be taken to protect their safety.

5 Questions Ahead of Uribe's Possible Washington Visit

Colombian media have reported that former president and peace process critic Alvaro Uribe may be coming to Washington. Here are five questions for the occasion:
Colombia's former president is the most vocal critic of peace talks with guerrillas, and he plans to bring that message to Washington. Should he do so, now-Senator Uribe should be prepared to answer some tough questions about his positions and his tactics. Here are some suggestions.

Mexico: it's Too Early to Close the Ayotzinapa Case

The Mexican Government’s Actions Undermine the Rule of Law
While Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto clearly wants to put the Ayotzinapa case behind him, there are far too many unanswered questions to declare the investigation over.

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.