Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

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

Discussing Mexico at the Texas Book Festival

by Shannon K. O'Neil Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This past Sunday I was in Austin, Texas at the Texas Book Festival. I had the honor of moderating a panel about two great books on Mexico, Ricardo Ainslie’s The Fight to Save Juárez – Life in the Heart of Mexico’s Drug War and Alfredo Corchado’s Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent into Darkness. You can watch a video of our conversation here (starting at 5:15), courtesy of C-SPAN2.

Public Education in Brazil

by Shannon K. O'Neil Wednesday, October 23, 2013
A Brazilian citizen, living in Mexico, holds a poster during a demonstration in Mexico City June 18, 2013, in solidarity with a protest movement against poor public services, police violence and government corruption in Brazil (Edgard Garrido/Courtesy Reuters).

When people talk about what holds Brazil back, education tops the list (along with infrastructure). The poor quality of Brazil’s public education system limits students’ capabilities and adaptability, creates mismatches between workers’ skills and companies’ needs, and stifles productivity and entrepreneurship. These limits affect the entire economy—hampering economic growth, competitiveness, research & development, and even oil production (as Petrobras has struggled to find skilled workers for its pre-salt finds). Read more »

North America’s Energy Boom

by Shannon K. O'Neil Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The past week, I participated in an IMF panel discussion on the North American energy boom with fellow energy watchers Alejandro Werner, Director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, Alejandro Diaz de León Carrillo, Mexico’s Deputy Undersecretary for Public Credit of the Ministry of Finance, John Murray, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, and Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman of IHS, and moderator Enrique Acevedo of Univision. There were many thoughtful takes on what is and is not happening, and how it may affect not just regional but also global markets. You can watch it here: Read more »

Brazil’s Pre-Salt Oil Six Years Later

by Shannon K. O'Neil Thursday, October 10, 2013
An aerial view of the final stage of the construction of new P-56 semi-submersible production platform for the oil company Petrobas at the Brasfels shipyard in Angra dos Reis, about 115 miles (185 km) west of Rio de Janeiro February 24, 2011 (Sergio Moraes/Courtesy Reuters).

In 2007, Petrobras engineers struck black gold, discovering vast oil reserves in the deep-water off the Brazilian coast and permanently altering not only Brazil’s energy landscape but the country’s economic and political fortunes. Immediate surveys predicted that some 80 billion barrels were trapped in these pre-salt reserves (named after the rock layer they are located in), a number so high that then-President Lula declared the find as proof that “God is Brazilian.” Read more »

Dilma Rousseff’s Tenure Three Years On

by Shannon K. O'Neil Thursday, October 3, 2013
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacts during a press statement after a meeting at the 6th European Union (EU)-Brazil summit at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia January 24, 2013 (Ueslei Marcelino/Courtesy Reuters).

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff is gearing up for her reelection bid this week, attending political rallies and drumming up support by appearing with former President Lula. As she hits the campaign trail, over the next year she will be campaigning on—or alternatively explaining—her last three years in office. So what has Rousseff accomplished during her time at Brazil’s helm? The results are, in my view, mixed. Read more »