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 "El Salvador"

This Year’s Presidential Elections in Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Voters wait in line to cast their vote in a presidential election runoff at a polling station outside in San Salvador March 9, 2014 (Henry Romero/Courtesy Reuters). Voters wait in line to cast their vote in a presidential election runoff at a polling station outside in San Salvador March 9, 2014 (Henry Romero/Courtesy Reuters).

Earlier this week, Salvadorans headed to the polls to cast their ballots in a presidential runoff election, since on February 2 the candidates failed to reach the 50 percent threshold to avoid a second round. In the runoff’s lead up, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, a former guerrilla commander and the current vice president from the ruling party, looked poised for an easy win over his closest opponent Norman Quijano from the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA). But with the final ballot count separating the candidates by some 0.2 percent of the votes and with allegations of fraud, it seems that the protests and debates surrounding this election are far from over. Read more »

Central America’s Moment

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A gang member flashes a gang sign as police parade suspected gang members they arrested in an overnight raid in San Salvador A gang member flashes a gang sign as police parade suspected gang members they arrested in an overnight raid in San Salvador (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

While Brazil and Mexico (in good and bad ways) tend to fill U.S. headlines regarding Latin America, other nations matter as well for the United States. Among them are the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Though combined their populations total less than thirty million people, these small nations arguably have an outsized effect on the United States, due to a long history of migration and a now growing role in the hemispheric drug pipeline. Read more »

Latin America’s Expanding Definition of National Security

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Job seekers join a line of hundreds of people at a job fair in Heredia Job seekers join a line of hundreds of people at a job fair in Heredia (Juan Carlos Ulate/Courtesy Reuters).

Two reports came out recently from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Council of the Americas (COA), both looking at Latin America and framing their substance as “national security” concerns. The first from CSIS, “Police Reform in Latin America: Implications for U.S. Policy,” describes how police reform has become a mainstay of foreign police and national security, not only in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in the Western Hemisphere. Read more »

Guest Post: Why Guatemala’s Pérez Molina Is Considering Legalizing Drugs

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Guatemalan President Molina walks with his El Salvadoran counterpart Funes at the presidential house in Guatemala City (Jorge Lopez/Courtesy Reuters). Guatemalan President Molina walks with his El Salvadoran counterpart Funes at the presidential house in Guatemala City (Jorge Lopez/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Natalie Kitroeff, a research associate here at the Council on Foreign Relations who works with me in the Latin America program. She received her BA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Read more »

Reads of the Week: Debating COIN in Mexico and Dealing with Violence in Central America

by Shannon K. O'Neil

At least 27 people were found dead in the Guatemalan village near the border with Mexico last May. Police look at a message written with a victim's blood, which reads: ‘What’s up, Otto Salguero, you bastard? We are going to find you and behead you, too. Sincerely, Z200.’ (Courtesy Reuters).

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Latin America’s Moment

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A child holding flowers during International Women's Day in Lima, March 8, 2011.

A child holding flowers during International Women's Day in Lima, March 8, 2011 (Mariana Bazo/Courtesy Reuters).

It is increasingly Latin America’s moment. Home to nearly 600 million people – almost a tenth of the world’s population – the region generates over $6 trillion dollars a year. With its fertile soil, huge mineral deposits, a wealth of clean energy, and vast oil and fresh water reserves, Latin America is the world’s breadbasket and a strong engine of global growth.

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