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 "Mexico"

Saving Ciudad Juarez

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Ciudad Juarez (Courtesy International Crisis Group)

In 2010, the homicide rate in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez rose to over 250 per 100,000 inhabitants making it the most dangerous city in the world. Other crimes—extortions, kidnappings, and carjackings—also increased dramatically. By 2014, these rates had plummeted. The 424 reported murders still outpaced 2006 figures, but were just 14 percent of the 3,084 murders four years earlier. Read more »

Mexico’s Fight Against Corruption

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Mexico, corruption, rule of law, National Anti-Corruption System, Miguel Angel Mancera Relatives of the 43 missing students of the Ayotzinapa teachers' training college hold pictures of the students during a demonstration to demand justice, in Mexico City November 5, 2014. The students went missing in the town of Iguala in the south-western state of Guerrero on September 26 after clashing with police and masked men, with dozens of police being arrested in connection with a case that has sent shockwaves across Mexico (Tomas Bravo/ Courtesy Reuters).

Corruption allegations and revelations cover Mexico’s front pages. Public officials’ penchant for expensive watches, use of government helicopters for personal errands, and a string of expensive houses facilitated by preferred private contractors have incensed not only Mexico’s chattering classes but also the broader public. 2014 opinion polls conducted by the Pew Research Center show corruption ranks second only to crime in citizen concerns. Read more »

Advanced Industries and North America

by Shannon K. O'Neil
advanced industries, innovation, R&D, stem, economic competitiveness A view of employees working at the General Motors assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri February 7, 2012. When the U.S. automaker wanted to assign the launch of the next version of their full-sized pickup trucks and SUVs, they turned to one of the toughest executives in its ranks. The 5-foot-2 Diana Tremblay, GM's global manufacturing chief, is one of the highest ranking women in the automotive industry and has upended expectations her entire 35-year career, from directing workers in GM's foundries to staring down union labor negotiator (Sarah Conard/Courtesy Reuters).

The U.S. economic recovery and current strength reflect in large part advanced industries. As other sectors faltered, both employment and output in these businesses grew. In 2013, they employed 12.3 million workers (9 percent of the U.S. workforce), who made on average $90,000 (compared to the U.S. mean of $51,500). These industries generated $2.7 trillion in output (17 percent of U.S. GDP), and indirectly supported an additional 14.3 million jobs. Read more »

Central America’s Unaccompanied Minors

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Central America, Unaccompanied Minors, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador Women and their children wait in line to register at the Honduran Center for Returned Migrants after being deported from Mexico, in San Pedro Sula, northern Honduras June 20, 2014. Thousands of young people are hoping to reach the U.S. from their impoverished and violent homes in Central America. In the eight months ended June 15, the U.S. has detained about 52,000 children at the Mexican border, double the figure the year earlier. There is no telling how many have gotten through (Jorge Cabrera/Courtesy Reuters).

During the summer of 2014 tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors surged across the U.S-Mexico border. Over the course of the fiscal year, nearly 70,000—mostly from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—endured brutal and at times even deadly conditions as they made their way to the United States. While most of these children were between the ages of 13 and 17, the fastest growing group was 6 to 12 years old. Of the many factors that influenced their individual decisions, four stand out. Read more »

Interview With Charlie Rose

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Charlie Rose, Shannon O'Neil, Enrique Peña Nieto, US-Mexico relations (Courtesy Charlie Rose)

Last month, I had the pleasure of joining Charlie Rose on his show along with Jorge Castañeda, Mexico’s former foreign minister, and Francisco Goldman, contributor to The New Yorker, to discuss Mexican President Peña Nieto’s meeting with President Obama last month and US-Mexico relations more broadly. Recently aired, you can watch the interview here.

The Strategic Importance of North America to U.S. Interests

by Shannon K. O'Neil
North America, Western Hemisphere, House Foreign Affairs, energy, economic competitiveness, integration (Courtesy Library of Congress)

Yesterday, I had the privilege to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere at a hearing titled “The Strategic Importance of the Western Hemisphere: Defining U.S. Interests in the Region.” Also joining me before the subcommittee were Bonnie Glick, senior vice president at Meridian International Center, Evan Ellis, research professor at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, and Eric Farnsworth, vice president of Council of the Americas. Read more »

United States and Mexico Finally Resolve Cross-Border Trucking Issue

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Mexican trucking, Mexican carriers, NAFTA, pilot program California Air Resources field representative Valente Armenta works a checkpoint set up to inspect heavy-duty trucks traveling near the Mexican-U.S. border in Otay Mesa, California September 10, 2013. California Highway Patrol and the Air Resources Board were inspecting trucks for compliance to California's air pollution laws (Mike Blake/Courtesy Reuters).

For the twenty years since the start of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the United States failed to fulfill its treaty obligations to open its roads and permit safe cross-border services. As part of the original agreement, Mexican trucks were supposed to be able to operate in four U.S. states—Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona—by December 1995, and then throughout the continental United States by January 1, 2000. Almost fifteen years later, the vast majority of Mexican trucks are still not allowed on U.S. roads. Mexico retaliated in kind, blocking the movement of U.S. trucks within its borders. In 2009, Mexico also applied retaliatory tariffs on a yearly rotating basis to a variety of U.S. imports, permitted by a favorable 2001 NAFTA dispute settlement panel ruling. Read more »

Elections to Watch in 2015

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Latin America Elections 2015 Argentina's current president and presidential candidate Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner listens to Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli (L) during a visit to the Luchetti noodle factory in Buenos Aires, October 20, 2011. Argentine President Fernandez looks set to win easy re-election on Sunday after a dramatic comeback that has confounded critics of her unconventional economic policies and combative style. A center-leftist who has given the state a leading role in the economy, Fernandez has rebounded from low approval ratings and angry protests by farmers and middle-class voters that erupted early in her first term. Polls show she could win more than 50 percent of the vote on Sunday (Martin Acosta/Courtesy Reuters).

The region will hold just two presidential elections this year, choosing new leaders in Guatemala and Argentina. More prevalent will be congressional and local elections. Midterms in Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia in particular may prove bellwethers for the direction of these three important regional economies. Read more »

Spillovers From Falling Oil Prices: Risks to Mexico and the United States

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Mexico, Pemex, Oil prices Refinery workers walk at one of the facility's catalytic plants, used to convert heavy hydrocarbon crude oil fractions into lighter gasoline and diesel in Tula November 21, 2013. Mexico's oil refining industry, saddled for years with bloated costs, chronic underinvestment and generous government fuel subsidies, ought to be on the verge of a bright new dawn. A shake-up last month dismantled the state-run Pemex oil and gas monopoly, ending decades of stubborn self-reliance and potentially opening the door to foreign oil companies (Henry Romero/Courtesy Reuters).

Geopolitically, U.S. policymakers generally see high oil prices as bad and low oil prices as good for national interests. In a CFR Working Paper I coauthored with Michael Levi and Alexandra Mahler-Haug we find a sustained drop in oil prices will affect at least one of the United States’ closest trading partners and geopolitical allies negatively: Mexico. Read more »

Guest Post: Latin America, Energy Matrices, and the Future of Climate Change

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil
Latin America, Energy Matrices, Climate Change A Petrobras Oil platform is seen at Guabanara bay in Rio de Janeiro September 24, 2010. Brazilian state oil company Petrobras raised $70 billion on Thursday in the world's biggest share offering, giving the company the financial muscle it needs to tap vast offshore oil reserves (Bruno Domingos/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Matthew Michaelides, an intern here at the Council on Foreign Relations who works with me in the Latin America program.

This week world leaders meet in Lima, Peru to discuss the framework for a new UN climate change agreement. The big issues for discussion include financing clean energy projects and implementing cap-and-trade policies, building on the release of a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a landmark climate change accord between the United States and China. Read more »