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

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

The Challenges Ahead and the U.S. Role
Publication
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
Publication
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.