Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

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

How to Clean Up the Mess in Venezuela

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, April 28, 2017
A demonstrator gestures while facing riot police during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, April 20, 2017 (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters).

Venezuela announced this week that it will withdraw from the Organization of American States, deepening its isolation and intensifying the sense of crisis there. In recent months, Venezuela has descended into economic, political and moral chaos, punctuated by the arrests of hundreds and the deaths of dozens of protesters during marches on Caracas and surrounding cities. Read more »

Rumblings of a Constitutional Assembly in Brazil

by Matthew Taylor Wednesday, April 19, 2017
A general view of the plenary chamber of deputies after a session in Brasilia, Brazil April 12, 2017 (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters).

Brazil remains in ferment. The massive Lava Jato investigation turned three years old last month, and this week marked the one-year anniversary of the Chamber of Deputies’ vote to impeach Dilma Rousseff. Last week brought the release of long-anticipated “end of the world” testimony by 77 plea-bargaining Odebrecht executives, which implicated nearly one hundred senior politicians, including a third of the Senate, more than three dozen deputies, thirty percent of the cabinet ministers, and a handful of governors. All six living presidents, including incumbent Michel Temer, now face allegations of improprieties from Lava Jato. Read more »

The World Next Week Podcast

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, April 14, 2017

Yesterday I joined Jim Lindsay on CFR’s podcast, The World Next Week, which gives a preview of world events in the week ahead. We discussed the political crisis unfolding in Venezuela, Turkey’s constitutional referendum, Brazil’s deepening corruption probes, and Donald Trump’s abrupt policy shifts. You can listen to the podcast here.

The Future of Anticorruption in U.S. Foreign Policy

by Shannon K. O'Neil Friday, April 7, 2017

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hosting the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy program’s symposium on “The Future of Anticorruption in U.S. Foreign Policy.” We started the day off with Senator Ben Cardin, who discussed his contributions to anticorruption legislation, including the Global Magnitsky Act and the proposed Combating Global Corruption Act. Our second session focused on corruption and commerce; with speakers discussing the costs and benefits of policing international markets. During the third and final session, speakers examined the links between corruption and national security, evaluating where U.S. policies have succeeded, and where they have fallen short. Read more »

A Look Inside Mexico

by Shannon K. O'Neil Wednesday, April 5, 2017

This afternoon, I joined Randal C. Archibold, Arturo Sarukhan, and José W. Fernández to speak about the domestic politics of Mexico, the impact of corruption, and Mexico’s bilateral strategy with the United States following disagreements over immigration, border walls, and the North American Free Trade Agreement. You can watch the conversation here.

International Pressure on the Maduro Regime

by Matthew Taylor Monday, April 3, 2017
An opposition supporter with a sign that reads, "Venezuela lives a dictatorship", take part in a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela, March 31, 2017 (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters).

The Venezuelan constitutional chamber’s decision last week to dissolve the National Assembly has made it abundantly clear that Maduro’s Venezuela is an authoritarian regime. The judiciary is at the beck and call of chavista forces, the military is corrupt and co-opted, and despite a last-minute reversal of the court’s decision, the continued dilution of the Assembly’s powers means that there are effectively no independent institutions left with the power to check the regime. Read more »

Brazil’s Brewing Trade Debate

by Matthew Taylor Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Brazil's President Michel Temer during their meeting at the West lake State Guest House in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, September 2, 2016 (Minor Iwasaki/Reuters).

Brazil is in the midst of a grand debate on its future in the global economy. The debate has been happening behind the scenes, obfuscated by the fireworks of the Lava Jato corruption scandal, overshadowed by the flashier discussions of political reform and the Temer administration’s fiscal reforms, and hidden from view by explosive scandals, such as the recent meat-packing disaster that threatens one of Brazil’s key export markets. Read more »

Five Facts about Bad Hombres and Border Security

by Matthew Taylor Friday, March 10, 2017
People talk to their relatives at a wall separating Mexico and the United States, as photographed from Playas Tijuana, in Tijuana, Mexico, April 10, 2016 (Jorge Duenes/Reuters).

The new administration has emphasized the need to curb security threats from Latin America: bad hombres, rapist Mexicans, and the wall are among the wrenching rhetorical symbols that President Trump has used to signal his goals. Five data points highlight the challenges the administration will face as it moves to secure the southern border. Read more »

China Wins if NAFTA Dies

by Shannon K. O'Neil Thursday, March 9, 2017
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto (R) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during a news conference at Los Pinos Presidential Palace in Mexico City June 4, 2013. Xi is on a three-day official visit to Mexico (Edgard Garrido/Reuters).

Much is made of the perils of ending NAFTA for Mexico, and rightly so. The 23-year-old agreement has helped the nation not only boost trade but also transform its economy, moving from a commodity to an advanced manufacturing exporter. With 80 percent of its exports headed north, even the threat of change has hurt Mexico’s currency, limited its ability to attract foreign direct investment, and cut the country’s current and future economic growth. Read more »