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 "Guatemala"

Immigration Reform Is Happening

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Honduran national Maria (no last name given) kisses Daniel, 4, with Alejandra, 7, and Marvin, 5, (R-L) as she waits in an isolation cell after she was caught attempting an undocumented entry into the U.S. from Mexico in Laredo, Texas, May 3, 2006 (Rick Wilking/Courtesy Reuters). Honduran national Maria (no last name given) kisses Daniel, 4, with Alejandra, 7, and Marvin, 5, (R-L) as she waits in an isolation cell after she was caught attempting an undocumented entry into the U.S. from Mexico in Laredo, Texas, May 3, 2006 (Rick Wilking/Courtesy Reuters).

Despite the standstill in Congress on immigration reform, state and local governments have been very active in passing their own immigration legislation. In this article for Foreign Policy, I look at what different states and cities are doing regarding immigration and the effects of their policies. You can read the beginning of the piece below:  Read more »

Immigration Reform Is Dead, Precisely When We Need It Most

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Migrants, consisting of mostly women and children, who just disembarked from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bus wait for a Greyhound official to process their tickets to their next destination at a Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona, May 29, 2014 (Samantha Sais/Courtesy Reuters). Migrants, consisting of mostly women and children, who just disembarked from a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bus wait for a Greyhound official to process their tickets to their next destination at a Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona, May 29, 2014 (Samantha Sais/Courtesy Reuters).

With Eric Cantor’s loss earlier this week, most believe immigration reform is dead. Yet with tens of thousands of Mexican and Central American children flooding across the U.S. southern border, a legislative overhaul is even more important. In this piece for Foreign Policy, I look at why these kids are coming and what we need to do about it. You can read the beginning of the piece below: Read more »

U.S. Drug Policy’s Third Way: A Conversation with Gil Kerlikowske

by Shannon K. O'Neil
U.S. National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske addresses the media during an anti-drug addiction meeting in Mexico City (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske addresses the media during an anti-drug addiction meeting in Mexico City (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Over the past year, public frustration in Latin America has been mounting toward the international drug control regime. Latin American leaders brought the drug policy debate to the forefront at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena last April, where the thirty-four heads of state agreed to review and discuss all possible approaches (a process that is now underway). This week at the United Nations General Assembly, Guatemala, Colombia, and Mexico’s governments issued a joint declaration, outlining their recommendations for global drug policy and specifically asking the United Nations to “exercise its leadership and conduct deep reflection to analyze all available options.” Read more »

Violence and Insecurity in Latin America: New Survey Findings

by Shannon K. O'Neil
People in a local bus service travel past a crime scene, where three men were shot dead, in Monterrey (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). People in a local bus service travel past a crime scene, where three men were shot dead, in Monterrey (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Though specific countries usually capture the headlines for their bloodiness—Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and often Colombia—security problems are widespread throughout Latin America. For the region which holds the unfortunate distinction of being the world’s most violent, a new Latinobarómetro report looks at the recent trends, and through survey data,  tries to tease out how this affects perceptions, people, and, more broadly, democracy. Read more »

Why the Summit of the Americas Matters

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Colombian policemen stand in front of the Centro de Convenciones in Cartagena Colombian policemen stand in front of the Centro de Convenciones in Cartagena (Jose Gomez/Courtesy Reuters).

The sixth Summit of the Americas on April 14-15 is part of an intense spring of bilateral and regional interactions in the hemisphere. It will bring together thirty-three heads of state from nearly every member of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cartegena, Colombia, to discuss regional issues ranging from expanding economic ties to turning back a surge in criminal activity. 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 »

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 »

Guest Post: Ríos Montt Plays a Risky Defense Game

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An indigenous woman passes graffiti depicting former dictator Efrain Rios Montt in Guatemala City (Daniel Leclair/Courtesy Reuters). An indigenous woman passes graffiti depicting former dictator Efrain Rios Montt in Guatemala City (Daniel Leclair/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.

Without fanfare, or so much as a public arrest, this weekend Guatemala took another historic step toward justice for a genocidal civil war that took the lives of more than 200,000 innocent, mostly indigenous civilians. Just a week after losing his diplomatic immunity, General (Ret) Efraín Ríos Montt was ordered to testify in court about his role in abuses that occurred between 1982 to 1983, when he was de facto President of Guatemala. If judge Patricia Flores decides there is enough evidence to proceed to trial, Ríos Montt will be prosecuted on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity (including 626 massacres of civilians in Chimaltenango, Quiché, Huehuetenango and Baja Verapaz). Read more »