This one is going to be briefer than normal, and I'm going to skip a week after this. While clowning around in the park with the family back on June 7, I leapt for a tree branch, missed, and landed painfully hard on my hand. When I finally went and got X-rays on the 10th, it turned out that I'd broken bits off the end of my right radius bone, in my wrist, in about three places. Long story short, I'm having surgery on the 18th to screw a metal plate into the bone. That will mean taking a brief hiatus from these e-mail updates.
I'm turning 50 in September, and this will be the first time I've ever been inside a hospital for myself. (Other than birth, but you could argue that was more for my mom.) That's not a bad run, so I can't really complain.
And otherwise, I'm doing fine. I'm delighted that a U.S. president got steamroller-level pushback after trying to use the military against his own citizens, and that military leaders have seen fit to apologize for those few dark days at the beginning of the month. I'm totally here for conversations about defunding police and redefining public safety—ideas that never really penetrated the DC think-tank-verse before—and I hope there will be similar conversations among partners in Latin America. And I really look forward to talking about how to do similar at the U.S.-Mexico border.
We've got some good writing coming out soon about this, about the border, and in a few weeks about Colombia. In the meantime, even though there's a lot to talk about, I'm going to stop for now because writing isn't all that much fun in this wrist brace. (Hopefully it'll be better in the days after surgery, with the bones realigned).
Just a couple of things below. I'm going to skip some of the regular features I usually add to these e-mails. See you in a couple of weeks!
Dirt bikes and riot helmets are not humanitarian aid
A year ago, congressional Democrats gave Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about $112 million for "consumables and medical care" for asylum-seeking migrants in the agency's custody. Things like medicines, food, diapers, blankets, and other humanitarian needs.
What did CBP end up spending the money on instead? The title offers a clue, but click on the link for the full maddening list.
WOLA Podcast: A crucial moment for Guatemala's fight against impunity
Guatemala is selecting new supreme court justices. The stakes are very high: fighting the corruption that drives so much migration will be much harder if the country gets this wrong. Here, my colleague Adriana Beltran and I talk to three people who are leading the fight from civil society. They are:
- Helen Mack, the president of the Myrna Mack Foundation. A longtime leader in Guatemala’s fight for human rights, Helen founded her organization in 1993, three years after the army killed her sister, anthropologist Myrna Mack. Helen is one of Guatemala’s principal experts on judicial and police reform.
- Harald Waxenecker is a sociologist who investigates networks of power and criminality in Guatemala and El Salvador, which is dangerous but necessary work.
- Claudia Escobar is a former magistrate of Guatemala’s court of appeals who played a central role in some of the country’s most high-profile corruption investigations during the mid-2010s.
And that's all there is this week, unfortunately. Thanks for reading!