All Content: Security Policy

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

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?

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.
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.

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

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

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
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.

Is the International Community Ready for Post-Conflict Colombia?

Report-back on a research visit to Bogotá: the answer is "no, not yet"
Analysis & Commentary
In perhaps a year, donor countries, UN agencies, and multilateral bodies will be compelled to shift gears, increasing and reorienting their aid packages for Colombia. Are they ready to do that? Is the Colombian government helping them to prepare? What will the most urgent needs be?

Will More Funds for Border Security Address the Crisis of Central American Children at the Border?

Spending even more on border security, or sending the National Guard, will not resolve the unaccompanied minors crisis
Analysis & Commentary
There are already enough Border Patrol resources at the U.S.-Mexico border. Congress does not need to add more: Customs and Border Protection needs to distribute them to respond to the current situation. We *absolutely* do not need to take the drastic step of a new National Guard deployment.

May Afro-Colombian Update

In Letter to Policymakers, WOLA Highlights Continued Abuses
Analysis & Commentary
Despite the promise of a peace accord, the current situation for Afro-Colombians remains dire, as WOLA outlines in a May 2014 letter to policymakers.

Ending 50 Years of Conflict in Colombia: A New Report from WOLA

The Challenges Ahead and the U.S. Role
As the likelihood of an accord increases, the United States--which provided billions for Colombia's war effort--must prepare to help consolidate peace.

WOLA Experts Visited Chocó, Colombia: Blogs from the Field

Adam Isacson's posts about conflict, displacement, illegal mining, U.S. policy - and the region's vibrant civil society
Analysis & Commentary
WOLA Senior Associate Adam Isacson's posts and photos from the road during a March 2014 trip to Chocó, in northwestern Colombia. Topics include the conflict's impact on Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, forced displacement, illegal mining, U.S. policy – and the need to defend and work with the region's vibrant civil society.

Bullets from Brazil: Growing Military Industrialism in Latin America

Analysis & Commentary
Latin America has developed a substantial indigenous defense industry able to market its products beyond the Western Hemisphere and across the globe. This has raised a number of issues about who the end users of the weapons are, the impact of the weapons on regional stability, and their potential for abuse.

Colombia, the United States, and Security Cooperation by Proxy

An emerging security cooperation model: Colombia is training third countries with U.S. funds
Colombia is increasingly training third countries' militaries and police forces, often with U.S. funds. This trend raises concerns about transparency, human rights, civilian control, and replication of a highly questioned "drug war model." This report presents new information about this growing practice.