Shannon K. O'Neil

Latin America's Moment

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

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Latin America"

Inside the 2012 Latino Electorate

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Placards and campaign stickers sit on a table at the Latino regional headquarters for the Obama campaign during election day of the U.S. presidential election in Milwaukee, Wisconsin November 6, 2012. Placards and campaign stickers sit on a table at the Latino regional headquarters for the Obama campaign during election day of the U.S. presidential election in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 6, 2012 (Sara Stathas/Courtesy Reuters).

During the weeks surrounding the 2012 presidential election, many analysts and observers, including myself, wrote about the Latino electorate’s arrival onto the political scene. A record breaking 11.2 million Hispanics voted and their concentration in swing states including Colorado, Nevada, and Florida, pushed Obama to victory. A new Pew Hispanic report, however, shows that this demographic still lagged its electoral potential last November. Despite the surge in absolute numbers, less than half (48 percent) of eligible Latino voters cast ballots, compared to 66.6 percent of blacks and 64.1 percent of whites. Read more »

The Presidential Inbox: Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil

As part of the Council on Foreign Relations’, “Presidential Inbox” series, I sat down yesterday with Arturo Valenzuela, former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Sergio Galvis, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, to talk about the issues that Obama will face in his foreign policy toward Latin America. You can watch the event here or below. Read more »

Diverging Inequality in Latin America and the United States

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Overview of the shantytown known as Villa 31, home of some 20,000 poor Argentines and immigrants from neighboring Paraguay and Bolivia, is separated by train tracks and a road from the city's richest neigborhood, Recoleta, in the center of Buenos Aires, October 19 (Enrique Marcarian / Courtesy Reuters). Overview of the shantytown known as Villa 31, home to some 20,000 poor Argentinians and immigrants from neighboring Paraguay and Bolivia. It is separated by train tracks and a road from the city's richest neighborhood, Recoleta, in the center of Buenos Aires, October 19 (Enrique Marcarian/Courtesy Reuters).

Most everyone agrees that inequality matters. Studies by the World Bank, the IMF, and by academics (such as Richard Wilkinson of the University of Nottingham) demonstrate how harmful inequality can be, affecting a whole host of factors, ranging from economic growth rates to teenage pregnancy rates and crime. Read more »

How the U.S. Sequester Will Hit Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Transportation Security Agency (TSA) officers work at Washington's Reagan National Airport outside Washington, February 25, 2013 (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters). Transportation Security Agency (TSA) officers work at Washington's Reagan National Airport outside Washington, February 25, 2013 (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters).

With the United States quickly approaching its Friday sequester deadline, the federal government is bracing for cuts. Much of the $85 billion in spending cuts will hit domestic programs and services—everything from wildlife reserves to childcare services. But the reverberations will also be felt in Latin America and the rest of the world. Read more »

Think Again: Immigration

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A woman reads a pamphlet prior to being naturalized as a U.S. citizen during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts July 14, 2010. A woman reads a pamphlet prior to being naturalized as a U.S. citizen during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts July 14, 2010 (Brian Snyder/Courtesy Reuters).

President Obama outlined his vision yesterday in Las Vegas for a comprehensive immigration reform, officially kicking off what will undoubtedly be a heated countrywide debate. With so many differing (and at times blatantly false) statistics and assertions circling the immigration discussion, here is my take, via Foreign Policy, debunking five of the biggest myths. Do you have others? Let me know! 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 »

What to Watch in 2013: Latin America’s Presidential Elections

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Nicaraguan police carry ballot boxes, which will be used for the upcoming presidential election, in Managua Nicaraguan police carry ballot boxes, which will be used for the upcoming presidential election, in Managua (Oswaldo Rivas/Courtesy Reuters).

Last year Mexico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic held presidential elections, leading to some of the region’s biggest news stories of the year: the PRI’s return to power and the strong second place showing from Venezuela’s opposition. With four scheduled presidential elections (and a possible fifth) in 2013, along with congressional and municipal elections in Argentina and Venezuela respectively, here is what you should be watching. Read more »

Looking Back at 2012: Latin America’s Economic Development

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Brazilian worker assembles a Volkswagen car at Sao Bernardo do Campo Volkswagen plant, near Sao Paulo (Nacho Doce/Courtesy Reuters). Brazilian worker assembles a Volkswagen car at Sao Bernardo do Campo Volkswagen plant, near Sao Paulo (Nacho Doce/Courtesy Reuters).

Looking back at the past year, many of the posts on Latin America’s Moment touch on the region’s economic development, and its trade and investment ties with the rest of the world. Here is a recap of some of the main themes.

Overall, 2012 was a year of economic optimism for most Latin American economies. The IMF’s Latin America Economic Outlook report, which I write about here, was quite bullish. And ECLAC announced that Latin America hit an all-time $150 billion high in foreign direct investment, led by Brazil. Also crucial in the region’s economic development were the growing number of women in the workforce. Read more »