Regional Security Policy

...holding the military accountable to democracy

Latin America’s transition to democracy began thirty years ago, but overwhelming military influence continues to undermine progress. Too often, U.S. aid and engagement make matters worse, encouraging the region’s armed forces to take on domestic missions – from the drug war to development programs – that threaten democracy and human rights.

WOLA challenges the expanding role of the military in foreign and domestic policy making. We support accountable civilian control of defense forces, a clear separation between police and military functions, and peaceful collaboration to reduce threats and resolve conflicts.

Regional Security Policy News & Analysis

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.

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.

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."

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.