Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

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

Investment is Vital on the Long and Potholed Path to Prosperity

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, June 28, 2013
A view of the Baluarte Bridge, the highest suspension bridge in the world, that connects the north-western state of Sinaloa with Durango and Mazatlan, during the official launch January 5, 2012 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). A view of the Baluarte Bridge, the highest suspension bridge in the world, that connects the north-western state of Sinaloa with Durango and Mazatlan, during the official launch January 5, 2012 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Mexico faces many challenges in improving its overall competitiveness. In an opinion column in today’s Financial Times, I argue that investing in the country’s infrastructure will be a vital step for creating a more competitive future. Read more »

Venezuela’s Economy and Future

by Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Women wait in line as they buy toilet paper at a supermarket in Caracas May 17, 2013 (Jorge Silva/Courtesy Reuters). Women wait in line as they buy toilet paper at a supermarket in Caracas May 17, 2013 (Jorge Silva/Courtesy Reuters).

Many Venezuela watchers have been waiting for the other proverbial economic shoe to drop (see here, here, and here), and for the country to fall into serious crisis. Others, such as Mark Weisbrot co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, question this premise, arguing in his Guardian column that Venezuela has and will continue to make progress using its own economic model. So where does the nation stand? Read more »

Political and Economic Lessons from Democratic Transitions

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, June 21, 2013
Pathways to Freedom - LAM

My colleagues in CFR’s Civil Societies, Markets, and Democracy Initiative have just released a new book, Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions, which highlights eight countries’ (Mexico, Brazil, Poland, South Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Nigeria) transitions from authoritarianism to democracy. Each chapter analyzes the economic and social factors behind the countries’ historical transformations, with many interesting trends emerging across the different states (you can also read a distilled version of the book’s “lessons learned” here). Read more »

Security Cooperation in Mexico

by Shannon K. O'Neil Thursday, June 20, 2013
Shannon O'Neil Hearing - LAM

I was in Washington D.C. this past Tuesday to give testimony on U.S.-Mexico security cooperation at a Senate Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere and Global Narcotics Affairs’ hearing. You can read my written testimony here or watch the full hearing video here—which also includes insightful perspectives from Nik Steinberg, Senior Researcher in the Americas Division at Human Rights Watch, and Duncan Wood, the Director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. As well as government officials, Roberta S. Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, William R. Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and Mark Feierstein, Assistant Administrator for Bureau of Latin America and the Caribbean. Read more »

Inside the 2012 Latino Electorate

by Shannon K. O'Neil Thursday, June 6, 2013
Placards and campaign stickers sit on a table at the Latino regional headquarters for the Obama campaign during election day of the U.S. presidential election in Milwaukee, Wisconsin November 6, 2012. Placards and campaign stickers sit on a table at the Latino regional headquarters for the Obama campaign during election day of the U.S. presidential election in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 6, 2012 (Sara Stathas/Courtesy Reuters).

During the weeks surrounding the 2012 presidential election, many analysts and observers, including myself, wrote about the Latino electorate’s arrival onto the political scene. A record breaking 11.2 million Hispanics voted and their concentration in swing states including Colorado, Nevada, and Florida, pushed Obama to victory. A new Pew Hispanic report, however, shows that this demographic still lagged its electoral potential last November. Despite the surge in absolute numbers, less than half (48 percent) of eligible Latino voters cast ballots, compared to 66.6 percent of blacks and 64.1 percent of whites. Read more »