Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

O'Neil analyzes developments in Latin America and U.S. relations in the region.

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Future U.S. Policy Toward Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil
January 14, 2008

As the primaries proceed, little attention had been paid to Latin America. Given the de facto integration of the Hemisphere through migration, trade, and other links, it is high time that U.S. foreign policy focus more attention on Latin America.
In this interview I lay out four main areas the next administration should focus on to reframe and redirect policy toward the region. These include: energy, public security, migration, and poverty and inequality. It is a tall order, but any progress on these fronts would be welcome after the recent years of neglect.

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  • Posted by Jessica

    It seems like ignoring the Latin American (and North American, with Mexico) region is a trend here in the United States. We only seem to pay attention to it when it serves our own interests. I agree that one of the biggest areas upon which we have the potential to develop a genuine relationship in the region relates to the issue of energy security. Brazil has a LOT to offer the U.S; it has newly discovered oil reserves, one of the most stable democracies and economies in South America, and despite a degree of historical hesitation towards the U.S., maintains friendly relations with this country. In my opinion, however, if we continue to ignore those problems that are at the root of poverty, crime, etc., in Latin America, we will get nowhere. For this reason, solving the cause of poverty is a must; but, how do we do this? Is it the responsibility of the U.S. to help in this area? Somehow, the U.S. must begin to demonstrate to the countries in the region that we actually care about what happens to Latin America. If we just go in and tell them how to solve all of their problems, we will just be seen as the imperialistic empire yet again; this perception has taken hold in several countries throughout Latin America.

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