Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

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

Calderón’s Presidency by the Numbers

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, November 30, 2012
Mexican President Calderon shakes hands with President-elect Pena Nieto after attending a private meeting in Mexico City Mexican President Calderon shakes hands with President-elect Pena Nieto after attending a private meeting in Mexico City (Henry Romero/Courtesy Reuters).

As President Calderón’s sexenio wraps up tomorrow, he will leave office with a mixed legacy. Many have presented interesting analyses of his policies, but this post looks at concrete numbers—development indicators and the like—to see how much did (or didn’t) change over the last six years. Read more »

U.S.-Mexico Relations Going Forward

by Shannon K. O'Neil Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yesterday was the first of presumably many meetings between Mexico’s President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto and recently re-elected President Barack Obama in Washington, DC. In a few days Vice President Joe Biden will lead a delegation, along with Ambassador Tony Wayne, Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, to attend Peña Nieto’s December 1 inauguration. Last night I spoke with Ray Suarez of PBS Newshour and Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue on the current state of bilateral relations and the big issues going forward. Read more »

Mexico Isn’t a Gangland Gunbattle

by Shannon K. O'Neil Monday, November 26, 2012
Mexico's President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto smiles during a news conference in Mexico City Mexico's President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto smiles during a news conference in Mexico City (Henry Romero/Courtesy Reuters).

Mexico’s incoming president, Enrique Peña Nieto, will meet with President Obama in Washington, DC this week to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities for the two countries. But perhaps one of the most important and difficult issues that the leaders will face is the American public’s overwhelmingly negative view of their southern neighbor. Below is an op-ed that I wrote for USA Today on GSD&M and Vianovo’s new opinion poll and why Americans’ perceptions of Mexico miss some of the country’s recent transformations. Read more »

EU-Latin America Economic Ties

by Shannon K. O'Neil Monday, November 19, 2012
Police officers walk in front the entrance of the EU-Latam headquarters in Lima Police officers walk in front the entrance of the EU-Latam headquarters in Lima (Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Courtesy Reuters).

European nations have had deep economic connections with many Latin American countries since independence, though most of the news today centers on how they are losing economic ground to China. Similar to my other posts on China’s and the United States’ economic ties with Latin America, this one will examine the European Union’s economic ties with the region through its trade, investments, and loans. Read more »

U.S.–Latin America Economic Ties

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, November 16, 2012
Vendors prepare products at a store painted with Venezuelan and U.S. flags in Maracaibo (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). Vendors prepare products at a store painted with Venezuelan and U.S. flags in Maracaibo (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Many talk about the United States’ declining influence in Latin America, pointing to the rising role of China or European companies, investors, and governments. Yet a closer look at the economic ties between the United States and Latin America questions whether this part of the relationship has in fact weakened. Read more »

Guest Post: Latin America’s Working Women

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Female dock workers talk and prepare for their shifts at the port of Valparaiso city (Eliseo Fernandez/Courtesy Reuters). Female dock workers talk and prepare for their shifts at the port of Valparaiso city (Eliseo Fernandez/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.

Over the last decade, poverty, and inequality have fallen throughout Latin America. Behind these positive trends are external factors, such as high global commodity prices and substantial foreign direct investment flows, as well as internal influences, including Latin America’s growing middle class, increased consumption, and successful government-run conditional cash transfers (which offer money to low income families who keep their kids healthy and in school). But another less talked about factor moving the region toward greater economic development is the millions of Latin American women in the workforce. Read more »

What Colorado and Washington’s Vote to Legalize Marijuana means for Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil Thursday, November 8, 2012
Medical marijuana is shown in a jar at The Joint Cooperative in Seattle Medical marijuana is shown in a jar at The Joint Cooperative in Seattle (Cliff DesPeaux/Courtesy Reuters).

As Americans went to the polls to elect their president yesterday, voters in Colorado and Washington chose to legalize marijuana (by referendum). Not only does this create conflicting state and federal laws, but it also directly challenges the United States’ war on drugs. Read more »

Election Day Roundup

by Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, November 6, 2012
People wait to vote at Good Shepherd Methodist Church during the U.S. presidential election in Kissimmee, Florida People wait to vote at Good Shepherd Methodist Church during the U.S. presidential election in Kissimmee, Florida (Scott Miller/Courtesy Reuters).

As Americans vote today, a record 23 million Latinos can head to the polls. Here is a roundup of the candidates’ stated views on immigration, regional security, and trade with Latin America—issues that are often of direct interest for this growing voter bloc, but also will more generally affect all Americans over the next four years. Read more »