Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

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

What to Expect From Mexico’s Election

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, June 29, 2012
Members of the anti-PRI opposition movement "Yosoy132" take part in a protest in Mexico City Members of the anti-PRI opposition movement "Yosoy132" take part in a protest in Mexico City (Edgard Garrido/Courtesy Reuters).

In anticipation of Mexico’s election this weekend, I spoke with Brianna Lee, a production editor at CFR.org, about the candidates, the most likely outcome, and the issues that the winner will have to face. You can read it on CFR.org here or below. I look forward to your feedback on twitter or in the comments section. Read more »

Exxon Mobil CEO on North American Energy Security

by Shannon K. O'Neil Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, gives a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations (Don Pollard/CFR). Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, gives a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations (Don Pollard/CFR).

Earlier today, Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil’s CEO, gave a talk here at the Council on Foreign Relations in which he outlined the global oil and energy markets trajectory during the past five years. He focused his prepared remarks on the promise of North America, and its potential to finally bring about “energy security” in the United States. Tillerson emphasized not just the like-minded policies and geographic ties, but the vast resource base—today the combined U.S., Canadian, and Mexican oil output tops fifteen million barrels a day (more than Saudi Arabia or Russia), and could grow in the coming decade to some eighteen million. Read more »

Mexico’s Candidates Vow a Different Kind of Drug War

by Shannon K. O'Neil Monday, June 25, 2012
Military police officials stand guard during the ceremony of the lowering of the flag at the Zocalo main square in Mexico City (Tomas Bravo/Courtesy Reuters). Military police officials stand guard during the ceremony of the lowering of the flag at the Zocalo main square in Mexico City (Tomas Bravo/Courtesy Reuters).

Mexico’s presidential candidates have promised to shift their country’s security strategy away from drug trafficking to focus on violence reduction. My new op-ed on CNN.com describes what is being discussed and what this could mean for both Mexico and the United States. Read more »

Brazil’s Stability is Success

by Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, June 19, 2012
To match feature BRAZIL-ECONOMY/MIDDLECLASS (Bruno Domingos/Courtesy Reuters). To match feature BRAZIL-ECONOMY/MIDDLECLASS (Bruno Domingos/Courtesy Reuters).

In the most recent July/August issue of Foreign Affairs, many people including Richard Lapper, Larry Rohter, Ronaldo Lemos, and myself respond to Ruchir Sharma’s May/June article “Bearish on Brazil,” which predicted that Brazil’s rise would end as soon as global commodity prices leveled out. In my piece, “Stability is Success,” I argue that while it is true that challenges remain for Brazil, its recent reforms and social programs have helped develop the economy and middle class in such a way that the country will no longer rise and fall solely on the basis of external market fluctuations. Read more »

Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America Hit Record Highs in 2011

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, June 15, 2012
Employees work at the assembly line of Positivo Computers, Brazil's largest computer producer, in Curitiba (Cesar Ferrari/Courtesy Reuters). Employees work at the assembly line of Positivo Computers, Brazil's largest computer producer, in Curitiba (Cesar Ferrari/Courtesy Reuters).

Last year foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America continued its surge, topping $150 billion, an all time high for the region. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean’s report “Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean,” the inflows climbed 31 percent—the most of any region and three times Asia’s growth rate—and now represent just over 10 percent of total global investment (breaking into the double digits for the first time as well). Read more »

Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: Worth the Price?

by Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Children sit in their classroom on their first day of school for six months in Oaxaca (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). Children sit in their classroom on their first day of school for six months in Oaxaca (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

In the economic development world, one of Latin America’s claims to fame are its conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs), which provide direct money transfers to low-income families who send their children to school and/or get basic health care. A few of these programs, such as Bolsa Família in Brazil and Oportunidades in Mexico, reach millions of families (some 20 percent of the two countries’ households). Others are smaller and more targeted toward the extreme poor, such as Chile Solidario in Chile, Familias en Acción in Colombia, and Bono de Desarrollo Humano in Ecuador. Most now boast at least a decade in place, providing a track record to test their reach and effectiveness. Read more »

Despite Hurdles, Latin Americans “Satisfied” According to OECD

by Shannon K. O'Neil Wednesday, June 6, 2012
A view of new homes in La Comarca Lagunera (Daniel Aguilar/Courtesy Reuters). A view of new homes in La Comarca Lagunera (Daniel Aguilar/Courtesy Reuters).

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a report this month on the overall well-being of its thirty four member countries (as well as Brazil and Russia). Looking specifically at the three Latin American countries in the studyMexico, Brazil, and Chile—some of the results aren’t surprising. The three countries all come in the bottom four positions (joined by Turkey) in categories such as safety, education, and income, far outpaced by the more mature economies within the organization. Read more »