Latin America Today

Latin America Today

News and analysis of politics, security, development and U.S. policy in Latin America and the Caribbean, from the Washington Office on Latin America.

Episodes

January 19, 2022 66 min

Recent violence in the northeastern region of Arauca shows the complicated, fragmented nature of Colombia's armed conflict—or "conflicts," as security analyst Kyle Johnson calls it in this clear, nuanced explanation of security challenges in early 2022.

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More than 120,000 migrants have applied for protection in Mexico in 2021. We discuss Mexico’s difficult transition to being a country of refuge with Gretchen Kuhner of IMUMI, Daniel Berlin of Asylum Access Mexico, and Maureen Meyer and Stephanie Brewer of WOLA.

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November 22, 2021 48 min

Colombia's government and largest guerrilla group signed a historic peace accord on November 24, 2016. Five years later, is it being implemented? Not enough. WOLA Director for the Andes Gimena Sánchez walks us through what is going well and what is not.

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Lisa Molomot and Jeff Bemiss have produced a new documentary, "Missing in Brooks County," about thousands of migrants dying in ranchland surrounding a south Texas Border Patrol checkpoint. They are joined by Texas State U. anthropologist Kate Spradley.

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As of September 1, WOLA has new president. Carolina Jiménez has an impressive biography—and here, we talk about her work, how civil society has evolved throughout Latin America, the threat of authoritarianism, opportunities in US policy, and her next steps.

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In this conversation, Adam and Stephanie discuss how Mexico's disappearance crisis grew to today's tragic scale, what has worked and has not worked for investigations into disappearances in the country, and some of the major findings of the WOLA's campaign on the issue. Please visit the campaign's website to see the in-depth findings and learn what you can do to support victims and family members of the disappeared ...

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September 3, 2021 40 min

Geoff Thale, WOLA’s president, has retired after 40 years as an advocate for human rights in Latin America. When Geoff’s career began, the idea of citizens working full-time to change foreign policy was unheard of. Geoff reflects on how much has changed.

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Last month's protests in Cuba captured international attention for the large groups that took to the street to express frustration with the island's current conditions.

This week's podcast discusses the protests triggers, the island's ongoing humanitarian disaster, and what, if anything, the Biden administration can do to help the Cuban people.

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Lisa Haugaard, director of the Latin America Working Group, is just back from accompanying a human rights delegation to Cali, Colombia, an epicenter of April-June protests. She conveys what witnesses told her about police brutality and new civic energy.

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For those closely following Haiti, the recent assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the chaos and political uncertainty following it have been years in the making, in a country tragically familiar with political and humanitarian crises.

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Former WOLA Director Joy Olson just carried out dozens of interviews along the Texas-Mexico border. She came back saddened by expelled migrants' suffering, perplexed by the Biden administration's halting measures, and calling for bold policy changes.

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July 1, 2021 46 min

The condition of Nicaragua's democracy has steadily deteriorated over the course of President Daniel Ortega's regime. Recently, in anticipation of the country's coming elections, President Ortega and his wife/Vice President Rosario Murillo have arrested more than a dozen of their significant political opponents under a new law that labels them as "traitors to the homeland."

To understand the current political cr...

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Peruvians vote on June 6 in a runoff between two presidential candidates who represent populist extremes, and who reflect growing divisions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. WOLA Senior Fellow Jo-Marie Burt explains the tense pre-election moment.

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Brazil is the second largest country in the hemisphere but its many complex issues rarely make news in the U.S. This week, Camila Asano, Director of Programs at the Brazilian human rights NGO Conectas joins Adam and Moses to paint a picture of attacks on human rights and democracy there.

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Protests that began April 28 in Colombia are maintaining momentum and a broad base, despite a heavy-handed government response. Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli, WOLA's director for the Andes, sees a movement coalescing—and a need for a more decisive U.S. approach.

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Top Biden administration officials, including Vice-President Kamala Harris, are developing a new approach to Central America. The theme is familiar: addressing migration's "root causes." WOLA President Geoff Thale and Citizen Security Director Adriana Beltrán discuss.

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The Biden administration is asking Mexico to do more to limit or stop arrivals of asylum-seeking migrants from Central America and elsewhere. Several WOLA experts discuss Mexico's military deployments, expulsions of families, and the view from El Paso.

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Yael Shacher, senior U.S. advocate at Refugees International, is a historian of U.S. asylum policy. She offers an invaluable perspective on the current increase in asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, and how the system should work.

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This series from the Washington Office on Latin America will share the stories of social leaders in Colombia who, every day, under threat to their lives, search for truth and work toward reconciliation, fight for justice for victims of the Colombian conflict, and ensure the government lives up to the guarantees it made to ethnic and rural communities in the historic 2016 peace accord. Social leaders often face off with a Colombian ...

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El Salvador's popular but authoritarian-leaning president, Nayib Bukele, may enjoy a congressional supermajority after February 28 elections. Mauricio Silva and José Luis Sanz discuss the many implications for Salvadoran democracy and U.S. policy.

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