Adam Isacson

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Adam Isacson

Adam Isacson is a Latin America specialist.

Letelier-Moffitt selection panel

The Institute for Policy Studies' 33rd Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards, were awarded, Thursday, October 15, 2009.

Members of the selection panel were;[1]

Fighting to remove Cuba from “terrorism sponsors” list

At the headquarters of the National Press Club in downtown Washington D.C., a consortium of organizations announced a new push to get Cuba taken off the State Department's "State Sponsors of Terrorism" list in early March 2013.

The event, in the form of a panel discussion, was sponsored by the Center for International Policy, the Latin American Working Group , and the Washington Office on Latin America. The MC was Wayne Smith, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy, who was the head of the U.S. Interests Section (instead of embassy) in Havana from 1979 to 1982, having been appointed by Jimmy Carter. Other participants were Congressman James P. McGovern, D-Massachusetts, former ambassador Anthony Quainton who is now "Diplomat in Residence" at American University, Robert Muse of Muse and Associates, and Adam Isacson of WOLA.

Congressman McGovern, who has followed U.S. Cuba policy closely, just got back from a visit to Cuba with a bipartisan delegation headed by Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont. McGovern participated in a two hour meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro. He and the other speakers pushed for an overall change in U.S.-Cuba policy, of which removal of Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism would be a useful first step.[2]


Adam Isacson is a key member of WOLA’s Regional Security Policy team. He is a leading expert on defense, civil-military relations, and U.S. security assistance to the Americas. He collaborates on Just the Facts—a constantly updated source of information and analysis of the United States’ often troubled relationship with Latin America’s militaries. He helped found Just the Facts in the early 1990s.

Mr. Isacson has co-authored dozens of publications, including “Ready, Aim, Foreign Policy” and “Waiting for Change,” which examine the increasing role of the military in U.S. foreign policy. During the 2000s, Mr. Isacson focused on Colombia, the principal destination of U.S. aid to Latin America at the time. At the end of the decade, he published “Don’t Call It a Model,” a comprehensive look at the lessons to be learned from Plan Colombia.

He has testified before Congress on international drug policy, Colombia’s conflict, U.S. military aid programs and human rights, and has organized several congressional delegations to the region. He is “among the few in Washington who genuinely affect how policy-makers in Congress and the administration shape their decisions and policy proposals,” says a congressional staffer who closely follows Latin America policy.

He is known for his pithy commentary, shared online daily through regular contributions to Just the Facts and other blogs. Among Latin America analysts, he has been a leader in cutting-edge use of technology for transparency, instant analysis, and advocacy.

Mr. Isacson joined WOLA in 2010 after fourteen years working on Latin American and Caribbean security issues with the Center for International Policy. Before WOLA and CIP, he worked for the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress in San José, Costa Rica as a program assistant for demilitarization.[3]

Border trip

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02) traveled (August 3-4, 2014) on a two-day fact-finding mission to the U.S.-Mexico border. He was accompanied on the trip by Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America.[4]