All Content: U.S. Assistance

Colombian Activists Face Alarming Security Crisis

United States Must Act to Protect Human Rights Defenders and Activists
An alarming number of human rights defenders have been killed this year in Colombia. WOLA urges U.S. policymakers to use the human rights conditions on military aid to Colombia to protect their lives.

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.

WOLA Announces Recipients of its 2015 Human Rights Awards

Honors to be given at 10th Annual Gala on October 28 in Washington, D.C.
The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) is proud to announce the recipients of its prestigious Human Rights Awards for 2015 on the 10th anniversary of the awards.

Women, Drug Policies, and Incarceration in the Americas

A Joint Project to Promote More Humane and Effective Policies
Analysis & Commentary
In collaboration with gender and human rights organizations from throughout the world, IDPC, Dejusticia and WOLA have convened a group of leading experts to address the harmful effects of incarceration on women in the Americas.

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.

Even if Glyphosate Were Safe, Fumigation in Colombia Would Be a Bad Policy. Here's Why.

Analysis & Commentary
On April 27, Colombia's Health Ministry called on the government to end aerial spraying of coca crops over concerns that it could cause cancer. But even if it was safe, spraying is an absolutely ineffective policy.

A Historic Summit of the Americas

Cuba Participation and New Prospects for U.S. Engagement with the Region
The upcoming Summit of the Americas will be the first such gathering attended by the government of Cuba, and presents new opportunities for the future of U.S.-Latin American relations.

UNASUR Mission to Venezuela Must Call for Respect for Human Rights, Promote Dialogue

WOLA joins 32 regional organizations in highlighting recommendations for the upcoming visit by UNASUR ministers
In a letter to the foreign ministers of Colombia, Brazil, and Ecuador, WOLA joins 32 other NGOs in calling on the upcoming UNASUR delegation to promote inclusive dialogue and call for the respect of human rights.

New Threats against Afro-Colombian Communities, Human and Labor Rights Groups Raise Concern

In a note to policymakers, WOLA documents new human and labor rights violations
Analysis & Commentary
U.S. officials must take action in the wake of continued threats against human and labor rights defenders in Colombia.

WOLA Monitoring the Administration's Central America Aid Request

Smart Investment Means Effectively Targeting Corruption, Violence, and Poverty
Analysis & Commentary
As it makes its way through Congress, WOLA is closely following the Obama administration's historic billion-dollar aid request to Central America for FY2016, a proposal which—if invested wisely—could address the underlying factors that have fueled record migration from the region in recent years.

Álvaro Uribe Addresses WOLA’s 5 Questions on the Colombian Peace Process

In his recent Washington visit, former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe addressed —but failed to fully respond to— WOLA’s five questions about his opposition to the Colombian peace process.
Analysis & Commentary

After Decades of Neglect, a Promising New U.S. Strategy for Central America?

Analysis & Commentary
In this post to The Hill's Congress Blog, WOLA Senior Associates Adriana Beltrán and Marc Hanson argue that Central American aid should go to groups and governments with real political will to tackle inequality, corruption, and violence.

The Mechanism to Protect Human Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico: Challenges and Opportunities

New WOLA and PBI Report
While recognizing the importance of the Mechanism and the valuable work its staff carries out, this report identifies several areas for improvement, drawing on a series of case studies to illustrate these weaknesses.

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 Administration’s Budget Request for Central America a Welcome Step

Smart Investments Must Target Corruption, Endemic Violence, and Poverty
On Monday, the Obama Administration will release its FY2016 budget request, including a $1 billion fund for Central America, aimed at assisting the governments of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador in addressing the root causes of migration from the region.

Afro-Colombian Activists Facing Increased Threats

U.S. and Colombian Governments Must Improve Protection for the Victims and Sanction Perpetrators
Analysis & Commentary
A recent wave of threats against Colombian human rights defenders underscores the need for immediate action.

Building the Future in Central America

Requires Smart Investments in Safe and Sustainable Communities
Analysis & Commentary
On November 14, Vice President Joe Biden, the presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, and the president of the IDB met to develop a joint plan for Central America. In light of the discussions, 17 civil society organizations in the U.S. and Central America outlined 6 key principles that ought to guide the new Central American strategy.

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.

Marijuana Legalization is an Opportunity to Modernize International Drug Treaties

In a this report published jointly by WOLA and the Brookings Institution, John Walsh and Wells Bennett analyze the new legal, regulated marijuana markets in the context of existing international drug treaties.