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 "Peru"

A Game of Inches: The Uncertain Fight Against Corruption in Latin America

by Matthew Taylor
3 out of 3, anticorruption, Car Wash investigation, Claudia Paz y Paz, corruption, International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), Matthew Stephenson, Sérgio Moro A boy holds a sign which reads, "No more corruption", during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, in downtown Guatemala City, May 30, 2015 (Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez).

Harvard’s inimitable Matthew Stephenson this week published a thought-provoking blog post comparing anticorruption efforts in Asia and Latin America. Crudely summarizing Stephenson’s argument, a few years ago many looked to Asia as the gold standard in anticorruption efforts, in part because of the success of independent and effective anticorruption agencies (ACAs) in the region. But recent news of political meddling with Hong Kong’s ACA, brazen kleptocracy in Malaysia’s state development fund, and efforts to water down reform in Indonesia all suggest that the pendulum is swinging in a less positive direction. By contrast, Stephenson is optimistic about the important gains made in recent years in Latin America, including by Guatemala’s International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG), Brazil’s Car Wash investigation, elections in Peru and Argentina that highlighted voter frustration with corruption, and Mexico’s “3 out of 3” reforms. Read more »

Corruption, Politics, and Corporate Transparency in Latin America

by Matthew Taylor
anticorruption, campaign spending limits, corporate donations, corporate transparency, corruption, electoral finance, illegal enrichment, influence peddling, Lava Jato, multilatinas, multinationals, Odebrecht, politics, transparency Gustavo de Hoyos (C), president of the Mexican Employers' Confederation (COPARMEX), holds a placard during a protest to demand senators to approve the original proposal of the National Anticorruption System, at the Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City, Mexico, June 16, 2016. The placard reads: "Businessmen demand to stop corruption. #SNA" (Reuters/Ginnette Riquelme).

It is Latin America’s anticorruption season. Deep beneath the waves of revulsion about scandal, graft, and the general filthiness of local politics has been a profound concern with democracy. In particular, there is a growing awareness that the dangerous liaisons between corruption and electoral finance threaten the stability and legitimacy of elected governments in the region. While there is plenty of good news about the impressive corruption busters who are shaking up settled patterns of corruption and impunity in the region, many of the underlying links between corporate transparency, corruption, and campaign finance remain deeply troubling and potentially destabilizing. Read more »

Great Political Comeback in Peru

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil
Peru, Keiko Fujimori, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, PPK, Ollanta Humala, Veronika Mendoza Peruvian presidential candidate Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, gives a speech to the press after Peru's electoral office ONPE said that he won more votes than Keiko Fujimori in the country's cliffhanger presidential election in his headquarters in Lima, Peru, June 9, 2016 (Reuters/Mariana Bazo).

This is a guest blog post by Ivan Rebolledo, managing partner of TerraNova Strategic Partners.

Sunday’s election pitted the two versions of the Peruvian right against each other: the populist, Keiko Fujimori of the Fuerza Popular party, and the liberal, Pedro Pablo Kuczynksi (PPK) of the Peruanos por el Kambio party, with the latter’s win confirmed Thursday afternoon. Read more »

The Significance of Peru’s June 5 Election

by Matthew Taylor
Peru, June 5 election, neoliberal, Alberto Vergara, Ollanta Humala, Alberto Fujimori, Keiko Fujimori, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, Veronica Mendoza, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Sendero Luminoso A combination file photo shows Peru's presidential candidates (L-R) Keiko Fujimori after voting and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski arriving to vote, during the presidential election in Lima, Peru, in these April 10, 2016 file photos (Reuters/Mariana Bazo (L) and Guadalupe Pardo).

While the world is distracted by Brazil’s impeachment drama, Venezuela’s impending meltdown, and Cuba’s promising détente with Washington, a potentially significant election campaign is underway in Peru that may have long-term implications for the success of the region’s “right turn.” Two candidates with robust neoliberal credentials are neck and neck in the second round contest that will take take place on June 5, and will determine who governs the country through 2021. Perhaps because of the similarities in the likely economic policies of the two contenders, not much foreign media attention has been focused on the election: regardless of who wins, Peru seems likely to continue with outward looking initiatives, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Pacific Alliance, while practicing market-friendly policies at home. But precisely because the economic policies of the two candidates are so similar—prominent Peruvian columnist and political scientist Alberto Vergara notes that whichever candidate governs Peru beginning in late July, their cabinet will be composed of technocrats who could serve their rival—observers have not focused on the underlying significance of this election to the democratic legitimacy of Latin America’s new rightward turn. Read more »

Latin America’s Ninis

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Latin America, World Bank, Ninis, inequality, demographic bonus, violence, conditional cash transfers, job training, entrepreneurship programs, employment services, regional economic downturn Young people rest on a sidewalk in Mexico City May 9, 2011. While many nations fret about their aging populations, Mexico may be frittering away its abundant youth with legions of jobless dropouts known here as NiNi. Short for "Ni trabaja, Ni estudia" (neither works nor studies), the term NiNi has become shorthand for young Mexicans without jobs who have given up on their education (Jorge Dan Lopez/Reuters).

18 million Latin Americans—1 in 5 of those between the ages of 15 and 24—neither work nor attend school. Commonly dubbed “ninis” (ni estudian ni trabajan), a new World Bank report looks at this phenomenon across the region. Read more »

Opportunities for U.S. Engagement in Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Latin America, Pacific Alliance, Colombia's peace negotiations, Luis Almagro, Cuba, Mexico's judicial reforms, anticorruption, Global Magnitsky Act, rule of law, North America, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Central America Regional Security Initiative, International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, Alliance for Prosperity (Courtesy U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations)

Last week, I had the privilege of testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations at a hearing titled “Political and Economic Developments in Latin America and Opportunities for U.S. Engagement.” Also joining me before the committee were Thomas McLarty, chairman of McLarty Associates, and Eric Farnsworth, vice president of Americas Society and Council of the Americas. Read more »

Review of State Building in Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Hillel Soifer, State Building in Latin America, state capacity Cambridge University Press, 2015

Hillel Soifer’s new book, State Building in Latin America, presents an interesting historical perspective on today’s current state capacity in Latin America, and why some countries are so much better able than others to not just control territory but also to deliver for their people. Read more »

Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Foreign Direct Investment, Latin America A Venezuelan worker assembles a motorcycle made of Chinese parts at the Empire Keeway factory in Charallave, outside Caracas December 14, 2011. Every time that Beijing turns the gear of their loans to Caracas, thousands of barrels of oil are shipped to Asia, get tons of goods to South America and create dozens of companies as part of an oiled mechanism that gives millions of dollars to the Government of Hugo Chavez and great benefits to the Eastern giant (Jorge Silva/Reuters).

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America fell in 2014, down 16 percent to $159 billion according to the latest ECLAC report. This outpaced global declines closer to 7 percent, and fell far behind other emerging markets, which saw investments rise 5 percent on average, and 15 percent in Asia. Read more »

Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America Holds Steady in 2013

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Robots weld cars at the Ford Motor Company's Sao Bernardo do Campo facility in Sao Bernardo do Campo, June 14, 2012 (Paulo Whitaker/Courtesy Reuters). Robots weld cars at the Ford Motor Company's Sao Bernardo do Campo facility in Sao Bernardo do Campo, June 14, 2012 (Paulo Whitaker/Courtesy Reuters).

In 2013, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America reached $185 billion according to the latest ECLAC report, continuing the slight upward trend of the last three years. Brazil maintained its number one position as the largest FDI destination, raking in $64 billion (over one third of all regional FDI). Mexico came in second, with some $38 billion (boosted by the $13 billion purchase of the rest of Modelo by Belgian based Anheuser-Busch InBev, a company run by Brazilians). Mexico’s Pacific Alliance partners—Chile, Colombia, Peru—also had a fruitful year, with a combined $47 billion in investment. And despite its economic woes, Argentina garnered $9 billion. Read more »

Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations Head to Washington

by Shannon K. O'Neil
U.S. President Barack Obama (C) speaks at the Trans-Pacific Partnership Leaders meeting at the Hale Koa Hotel during the APEC Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, November 12, 2011 (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama (C) speaks at the Trans-Pacific Partnership Leaders meeting at the Hale Koa Hotel during the APEC Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, November 12, 2011 (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters).

One of the potentially biggest economic initiatives for Obama’s second term is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Started some seven years ago by four Pacific nations—Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore—to spur trade by eliminating tariffs, the agreement has now expanded to encompass twelve nations, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, and Vietnam. The block’s combined GDP reaches some $28 trillion, with member countries conducting roughly a third of all global trade. Read more »