Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

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

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Showing posts for "Brazil"

Foreign Direct Investment and Jobs in Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Employees work at an assembly line at a Ford manufacturing plant in Sao Bernardo do Campo June 14, 2012 (Paulo Whitaker/Courtesy Reuters). Employees work at an assembly line at a Ford manufacturing plant in Sao Bernardo do Campo June 14, 2012 (Paulo Whitaker/Courtesy Reuters).

In 2012 Latin America received its largest amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) to date: $170 billion or 12 percent of global flows. These flows went into a range of sectors from mining and petroleum production to high skilled and low skilled manufacturing to telecommunications and electricity. Read more »

Transforming Brazil’s Favelas

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Children play in front of the field at Cidade de Deus (City of God) slum in Rio de Janeiro March 15, 2011, where U.S. President Barrack Obama will visit on Sunday, according to the local press (Ricardo Moraes/Courtesy Reuters). Children play in front of the field at Cidade de Deus (City of God) slum in Rio de Janeiro March 15, 2011, where U.S. President Barrack Obama will visit on Sunday, according to the local press (Ricardo Moraes/Courtesy Reuters).

I got the chance last week to visit the Centro Comunitário Lídia dos Santos (or CEACA), an NGO based in the Rio de Janeiro favela of Morro dos Macacos—once the grounds of a zoo, and now home to some 25,000 cariocas (Rio’s residents). Headed by Dona Anna Marcondes Faria, it is the culmination of nearly fifty years of her work to make the community safer. From initial efforts to bring running water and kindergarten classes to the neighborhood, the two story building now offers a host of after school programs, art classes, professional training sessions, and environmental awareness projects. The goal is not just to teach skills but also confidence. CEACA, along with NGOs in some 450 other communities, have gained the attention and support of Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Walmart, and dozens of other corporations. Read more »

What to Watch in 2013: U.S. Policy Toward Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil
U.S. President Obama delivers a speech in front of banners representing Latin American nations in Santiago U.S. President Obama delivers a speech in front of banners representing Latin American nations in Santiago (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

2013 could be an interesting year for U.S. policy toward the region. Up first will likely be U.S. immigration reform. The outpouring of support from Latino voters in the November presidential election, helping push Barack Obama to victory, combined with the better organization and more aggressive stance of many pro-immigration advocates may motivate lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to come up with legislative reforms. In fact Obama officials have already stated that they will turn to immigration early this year. Read more »

Election Day Roundup

by Shannon K. O'Neil
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 »

Evolution of Latin America’s Economies

by Shannon K. O'Neil

I’ve been looking recently at the structural changes in many of Latin America’s economies (through the evolution of their exports). The different trajectories are quite striking, as you can see in the graphs below.

Out of Latin America’s biggest economies, Mexico has transformed the most. In the 1980s the manufacturing sector comprised just 10 percent of total exports; today it is over 75 percent. Mexico’s economic diversification and dynamism, especially in the automotive and electronic industries, have held oil at a steady 10-15 percent of exports for the last twenty years, even as oil prices have risen (though, in fairness, production has also declined). Read more »

Latin America Becomes More Competitive

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Brazilian children Alexandre da Costa (L) and Augusto Ribeiro use a computer at Mare slum in Rio de Janeiro (Sergio Moraes/Courtesy Reuters). Brazilian children Alexandre da Costa (L) and Augusto Ribeiro use a computer at Mare slum in Rio de Janeiro (Sergio Moraes/Courtesy Reuters).

The Global Competitiveness Index for 2012-2013 came out this month, ranking 144 countries from around the world on twelve “pillars of competitiveness” (ranging from “basic requirements” such as institutions and infrastructure to more advanced categories such as innovation and business sophistication). In its rankings, Latin America’s countries fell pretty much right in the list’s center, with three countries (Chile, Panama, and Brazil) ranking in the top third, six countries falling in the bottom third (El Salvador, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Venezuela), and the rest spread throughout the middle. Read more »

The Democratic Platform on Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A convention-goer stands on the convention floor on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte A convention-goer stands on the convention floor on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters).

This week it is the Democrats who are putting forth their platform, which can be found in its entirety here. Like its Republican counterpart, the platform is heavily focused on domestic issues (most significantly on the middle class and job creation), leaving little ink for the United States’ relationship with Latin America. When the Democratic platform does address its southern neighbors, the emphasis is two pronged: security and economics. Read more »

The GOP Platform on Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A convention goer wears a button during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa A convention goer wears a button during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa (Eric Thayer/Courtesy Reuters).

With the Tampa Bay Republican Convention underway, the Republican Party platform, in its entirety, has finally found its way onto the internet. The fifty-plus page document touches briefly on all of the hottest election year topics, addressing everything from traditional marriage to Medicare to foreign policy. In regards to Latin America, the Republican Party platform focuses almost exclusively on the two states toward which the GOP has the greatest antipathy: Venezuela and Cuba. Read more »

Latin America: Community Building Across Borders

by Shannon K. O'Neil
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 »

Latin America: Trading and Investing Together

by Shannon K. O'Neil
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 »