Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

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

Too Bearish on Brazil: Ruchir Sharma in Foreign Affairs

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, April 27, 2012

The recent Foreign Affairs article “Bearish on Brazil” lays out a quite pessimistic view of Brazil. For the author, Ruchir Sharma, the Brazil fuss has risen and will largely fall with commodities. Brazil’s policies of high interest but low investment rates, as well as high taxes and a large welfare state, mean that its “commodity-driven surge will soon begin to wash away.” Read more »

State or Market Led? Brazil’s Struggle to Improve Infrastructure and IT

by Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Workers spread cement for a new bus lane projected to carry more passengers during the 2014 World Cup, in Belo Horizonte Workers spread cement for a new bus lane projected to carry more passengers during the 2014 World Cup, in Belo Horizonte (Washington Alves/Courtesy Reuters).

Yesterday I attended the annual Brazil Summit in New York, organized by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce. What struck me in the presentations (reinforcing what I heard during my last two visits to Brazil), was the quite disparate views of Brazil today and the levers for growth tomorrow. Read more »

Guest Post: Colombia’s Displaced

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, April 20, 2012
Group of internally displaced Colombians protest at the entrance of AG headquarters in Bogota (Jose Gomez/Courtesy Reuters). Group of internally displaced Colombians protest at the entrance of AG headquarters in Bogota (Jose Gomez/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Stephanie Leutert, a research associate here at the Council on Foreign Relations who works with me in the Latin America program.

The best known Colombian security story is that of declining violence. Indeed its homicide rate dropped from near 80 homicides per 100,000 in 1990 to 32 per 100,000 in 2010 lower than its eastern neighbor Venezuela, or the notoriously violent Central American countries to the north. In fact, Colombian police now share best practices and security advice with their Honduran and El Salvadoran counterparts, and are training twelve thousand Mexican officers. Read more »

Can 80 Percent of Mexicans be Poor? The Debate over Poverty

by Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Apartment buildings stand behind a low-income neighborhood in Mexico City Apartment buildings stand behind a low-income neighborhood in Mexico City (Edgard Garrido/Courtesy Reuters).

A recent study highlighted in La Jornada, a Mexican newspaper, claims that some ninety million Mexicans are poor, roughly 80 percent of the total population. This contrasts drastically with calculations by the OECD (which put the poor closer to twenty-three million) or those by Mexican researchers Luis de la Calle and Luis Rubio (who estimate that 25 percent of Mexicans—approximately twenty-nine million—are poor). Read more »

Why the Summit of the Americas Matters

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, April 13, 2012
Colombian policemen stand in front of the Centro de Convenciones in Cartagena Colombian policemen stand in front of the Centro de Convenciones in Cartagena (Jose Gomez/Courtesy Reuters).

The sixth Summit of the Americas on April 14-15 is part of an intense spring of bilateral and regional interactions in the hemisphere. It will bring together thirty-three heads of state from nearly every member of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cartegena, Colombia, to discuss regional issues ranging from expanding economic ties to turning back a surge in criminal activity. Read more »

Central America’s Moment

by Shannon K. O'Neil Monday, April 9, 2012
A gang member flashes a gang sign as police parade suspected gang members they arrested in an overnight raid in San Salvador A gang member flashes a gang sign as police parade suspected gang members they arrested in an overnight raid in San Salvador (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

While Brazil and Mexico (in good and bad ways) tend to fill U.S. headlines regarding Latin America, other nations matter as well for the United States. Among them are the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Though combined their populations total less than thirty million people, these small nations arguably have an outsized effect on the United States, due to a long history of migration and a now growing role in the hemispheric drug pipeline. Read more »

Guest Post: Ecuador’s Military and Why Correa Will Be Reelected (Once)

by Shannon K. O'Neil Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Soldiers stand guard outside Eufrasia high school in Quito (Guillermo Granja/Courtesy Reuters). Soldiers stand guard outside Eufrasia high school in Quito (Guillermo Granja/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Gabriel Aguilera, an Assistant Professor of International Security Studies at the Air War College. The views expressed here belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, or Air War College. Read more »

Estimating the Costs of Restrictive Immigration Laws

by Shannon K. O'Neil Monday, April 2, 2012
Migrant farm workers walk back to their camp with food and other supplies in San Diego Migrant farm workers walk back to their camp with food and other supplies in San Diego (Fred Greaves/Courtesy Reuters).

Much has been written about the rise of restrictive immigration laws in states such as Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia, both by those for and against these measures. What is now emerging are initial assessments of the economic costs and benefits of these policies. Read more »