Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

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

Guest Post: Correa is No Chávez

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Ecuador's President Correa and Venezuela's President Chavez sing national anthem during a ceremony in Caracas Ecuador's President Correa and Venezuela's President Chavez sing national anthem during a ceremony in Caracas (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/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.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has been in full campaign mode: speaking, singing, and exhorting the dangers of his opponent, Henrique Capríles Radonski. Despite his visible public activities, rumors and speculation continue to swirl, with attention focused on his health far more than on his policies. The prospect of a Venezuela without Chávez, and more broadly the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, or ALBA, and its regional initiatives, has led many to speculate who would or could fill the void. In the regional arena, Ecuador’s mercurial president Rafael Correa stands as a top contender. Read more »

Latin America: Community Building Across Borders

by Shannon K. O'Neil Thursday, July 26, 2012
Shadows on a slum wall are cast by Nicaraguan immigrants to Costa Rica during a prayer session in the neighborhood of Triangulo de la Solidaridad Shadows on a slum wall are cast by Nicaraguan immigrants to Costa Rica during a prayer session in the neighborhood of Triangulo de la Solidaridad (Juan Carlos Ulate/Courtesy Reuters).

Alongside the tentative formal efforts at economic and political integration, people are also increasingly bringing the region together. A recent uptick in intra-regional movement—through travel, study, and immigration—has allowed Latin Americans to get to know each other better, and in the process bind together both their communities and their economies. Read more »

The Limited Integration of Latin American Governance

by Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, July 24, 2012
A Brazilian Navy boat patrols the Copacabana beach as national flags flutter on the Copacabana Fort (Ricardo Moraes/Courtesy Reuters). A Brazilian Navy boat patrols the Copacabana beach as national flags flutter on the Copacabana Fort (Ricardo Moraes/Courtesy Reuters).

The aspiration to integrate governance between Latin America’s twenty nations to address issues ranging from human rights to economic development to security concerns are long-held, but have led to mostly ephemeral results. The response for frustrated integrationists has often been to create new organizations, leading to a proliferation of regional and sub-regional negotiating bodies. Read more »

Latin America: Trading and Investing Together

by Shannon K. O'Neil Thursday, July 19, 2012
Container trucks stand in line as they are stopped on border between El Salvador and Honduras Container trucks stand in line as they are stopped on border between El Salvador and Honduras (Eliana Aponte/Courtesy Reuters).

Economic ties lead Latin America’s integration efforts. Promising some of the greatest concrete benefits—larger markets, improved livelihoods, and enhanced global economic power—leaders and communities alike have tried to integrate the region through three main means: trade, infrastructure, and investment. Read more »

Latin American Integration: Two Hundred Years of Efforts

by Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, July 17, 2012
A man walks past a banner reading 'Capital of integration' in Caracas A man walks past a banner reading 'Capital of integration' in Caracas (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Latin American integration efforts have been a continuous fixture throughout much of the last century, but in recent years there has been a flurry of new initiatives, with leaders re-emphasizing regional ties. The increasing number of high-profile presidential and ministerial summits have brought renewed promises and commitments to deepen regional political, economic, social, and developmental cooperation, and have spurred the creation of new political and economic bodies tasked with uniting the region. Read more »

Peña Nieto and Energy Reform

by Shannon K. O'Neil Thursday, July 12, 2012
Mexican Pemex oil worker kicks a drilling rod while working on a drilling platform in Tabasco (Andrew Winning/Courtesy Reuters). Mexican Pemex oil worker kicks a drilling rod while working on a drilling platform in Tabasco (Andrew Winning/Courtesy Reuters).

With Mexico’s presidential elections in the past, the focus is now on whether or not President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto will be able to follow through on his many compromisos. My guest post on Michael Levi, Blake Clayton, and Daniel Ahn’s blog, Energy, Security, and Climate, looks at Peña Nieto’s promise to reform his country’s closed energy-sector, and why he may actually be able to achieve what his predecessor could not. The full text is below. Read more »

Mexicans and the U.S. Melting Pot

by Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, July 10, 2012
New U.S. citizens say Pledge of Allegiance during naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters). New U.S. citizens say Pledge of Allegiance during naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters).

The integration (once called assimilation) of foreigners into the United States is a long-standing issue. Some fear that today’s immigrants aren’t integrating into U.S. culture and society as past waves did. Mexicans—the largest single group today with some twelve million immigrants—in particular are seen as guilty of maintaining their distance. The late Harvard professor Samuel Huntington summed up these views, writing that Hispanics “threaten to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages,” and generally “lack initiative, self-reliance, and ambition.” Read more »

The PRI Returns in Mexico

by Shannon K. O'Neil Monday, July 2, 2012
Young supporter of Mexican presidential front-runner Nieto attends one of his last campaign rallies in Toluca (Tomas Bravo/Courtesy Reuters). Young supporter of Mexican presidential front-runner Nieto attends one of his last campaign rallies in Toluca (Tomas Bravo/Courtesy Reuters).

Twelve years after being voted out of power, Enrique Peña Nieto and the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, are coming back to Los Pinos, Mexico’s White House. Yesterday Peña Nieto won an estimated 38 percent of the national vote, (roughly 6 percent more than his nearest rival, the PRD’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador) and the PRI looks to become the largest party in Mexico’s Congress. Read more »