All Content: Security Policy

“Concentration Zones”: the Perplexing Key to a Bilateral Ceasefire in Colombia

A WOLA Series on Colombia’s Peace Process: Ensuring the Success of a Potential Bilateral Ceasefire Agreement
Analysis & Commentary
In the context of the Colombian peace talks in Havana and possible future announcements by the negotiating parties, WOLA will be publishing a series of analytical pieces on how to ensure a successful bilateral ceasefire.

Colombia’s Peace Process: Ensuring the Success of a Potential Bilateral Ceasefire Agreement

Video
In the context of the Colombian peace talks in Havana, WOLA will be publishing a series of analytical pieces and videos on how to ensure the success of potential bilateral ceasefire agreement.

Citizen Security in Central America: Root Causes and New Approaches

The evolving U.S. response to violence in the Northern Triangle
Publication
A look at some of the concerns in Congress and elsewhere about political will, corruption, and human rights, and discuss strategies that can help Central Americans feel safer where they live—without repeating the ineffective and military-heavy approaches of the past

Migration through Mexico: A Humanitarian Emergency

Interactive Map Shows Impact of Mexico's Southern Border Program
Analysis & Commentary
Increased enforcement along Mexico’s southern border has raised concerns about potentially severe humanitarian consequences for thousands of Central Americans fleeing violence, poverty, and lack of opportunity. This map uses data, photos, and first-person accounts to show what’s happening at Mexico’s southern border.

Pope Francis to Address Migration during Upcoming Mexico Trip

WOLA Resources on Migration Issues along Mexico’s Southern and Northern Borders
News
In light of Pope Francis' upcoming trip to Mexico in which he will highlight migration through the country, WOLA is publishing an interactive map of Mexico’s southern border zone, an area that has become the site of a major U.S.-backed migration crackdown, raising serious humanitarian concerns.

U.S. Increases Central America Aid, But It’s No Blank Check

Analysis & Commentary
New conditions on U.S. aid to Central America show that the fight against corruption, the protection of human rights, and the strengthening of public institutions are high on Congress' agenda. Now it is up to the governments of Central America to demonstrate a similar commitment.

Drugs, Thugs, and Diplomats: A Discussion of the Policy Debate that Led to Plan Colombia

Video
Join us for a conversation with Professor Winifred Tate as she examines the U.S. policymaking process in the design, implementation, and assessment of the Plan Colombia aid package in her newly released book "Drugs, Thugs, and Diplomats."

Obama’s Billion Dollar Aid Request to Central America: How has it changed?

Analysis & Commentary
The latest bills from Congress cut back on President Obama’s aid request while increasing military assistance. Here is an update of current funding proposals for Central America.

New Report: Increased Enforcement at Mexico’s Southern Border

An Update on Security, Migration, and U.S. Assistance
Publication
Far from deterring migrants from making the journey north, the most notable effect of Mexico’s migration crackdown has been changes in how migrants are traveling.

Ending Coca Fumigation in Colombia is the Right Call

Can Colombia Now Seize the Opportunity to Create a More Humane and Sustainable Approach to Reducing Coca Cultivation?
Analysis & Commentary
As the decades-long program of spraying coca crops with herbicides comes to an end, WOLA reflects on the history of flawed policy and what should replace it.

The House Defense Bill Would Give Central America US$50 Million In New Military Aid

The proposed aid, not part of the "Alliance for Prosperity," follows the old drug-war model
Analysis & Commentary
The House Armed Services Committee threw an extra US$50 million in drug war aid for Central America into the 2016 Defense bill.

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:
Analysis & Commentary
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.

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:
Analysis & Commentary
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
Analysis & Commentary
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.

Advocating for Drug Policy Reform at the United Nations

Analysis & Commentary
Learn more about what kind of drug policy reform WOLA is advocating for at the UNGASS in 2016

Serious Setback for Justice in Colombia if Bills to Expand Jurisdiction of Military Courts Approved

NGO statement expresses concern over potential for broad impunity under proposed Colombian law
Analysis & Commentary
NGO and faith groups highlight potential for widespread impunity if human rights cases are transferred to military jurisdiction.

This Report on Colombia's Lessons Has a Lot of Problems

A U.S. military school's report draws dangerous conclusions from inaccurate facts
Analysis & Commentary
WOLA finds numerous inaccuracies in a report from the Joint Special Operations University about the U.S. experience in Colombia. An attached PDF highlights problems with the report, which attacks human rights defenders and issues dangerous recommendations for U.S. military engagement worldwide.

Human Rights in Mexico: Recent Abuses Highlight Persistent Challenges

Video
Recent cases in Iguala, Guerrero and Tlatlaya, State of Mexico raise serious concerns about the actions of Mexico's security forces and the government's commitment to respect human rights, end impunity, and combat corruption.

Creating Peace on the Ground in Two of Colombia’s Conflict Hot Spots: Chocó and Buenaventura

Video
In this taped event on human rights in Colombia, leading human rights defenders share on-the-ground information on the Colombian conflict and identify ways the international community can support peace.

Mexico's New Southern Border Security Plan and New Police Force

An In-Depth Podcast with WOLA's Adam Isacson and Experts on the Ground
Publication
Over 3 days in August, Mexico's government announced a big new southern border security plan, and inaugurated a big new police force, the Gendarmería. Adam talks to six experts about both strategies and their likely effects.