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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Exxon Mobil CEO on North American Energy Security

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, gives a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations (Don Pollard/CFR). Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, gives a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations (Don Pollard/CFR).

Earlier today, Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil’s CEO, gave a talk here at the Council on Foreign Relations in which he outlined the global oil and energy markets trajectory during the past five years. He focused his prepared remarks on the promise of North America, and its potential to finally bring about “energy security” in the United States. Tillerson emphasized not just the like-minded policies and geographic ties, but the vast resource base—today the combined U.S., Canadian, and Mexican oil output tops fifteen million barrels a day (more than Saudi Arabia or Russia), and could grow in the coming decade to some eighteen million. Read more »

Press Freedom and Democracy in Latin America

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Pedestrians look at the front pages of newspapers on a street in Quito October 1, 2007. President Rafael Correa's party on Sunday battled for a majority of seats in the election of an assembly the leftist leader said will challenge discredited political elites by drafting a new constitution (Guillermo Granja/Courtesy Reuters). Pedestrians look at the front pages of newspapers on a street in Quito October 1, 2007. President Rafael Correa's party on Sunday battled for a majority of seats in the election of an assembly the leftist leader said will challenge discredited political elites by drafting a new constitution (Guillermo Granja/Courtesy Reuters).

Last Wednesday, Ecuador’s Supreme Court upheld sentences handed down in July 2011 for four members of the El Universo newspaper’s staff in the latest chapter of a lengthy and controversial trial. Three of the newspaper’s directors, Carlos, César, and Nícolas Perez, and an editorialist, Emilio Palacio, face three years in jail and $40 million in fines. All have fled the country or sought asylum abroad, and many expect that the fines (if collected) will bankrupt the 90-year-old periodical. Read more »

Illegal Immigration and the 2012 Campaign

by Shannon K. O'Neil

I wrote a piece for CNN Global Public Square entitled “Illegal Immigration and the 2012 Campaign,” which highlights the role illegal immigration plays in the 2012 U.S. presidential race. In it I discuss how the rhetoric does not always match up to current immigration realities, and how the Hispanic vote will affect the upcoming election. Here is a brief excerpt: Read more »

The Politics of Latin American Energy

by Shannon K. O'Neil
An aerial view of the final stage of the construction of the new P-56 semi-submersible production platform for the oil company Petrobas at the Brasfels shipyard in Angra dos Reis (Sergio Moraes/Courtesy Reuters). An aerial view of the final stage of the construction of the new P-56 semi-submersible production platform for the oil company Petrobas at the Brasfels shipyard in Angra dos Reis (Sergio Moraes/Courtesy Reuters).

There has been a lot of talk about the shifting geopolitical weight from the east to the west due to the growth of energy resources in Latin America. Ever growing oil discoveries off the coast of Brazil, hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of shale gas in Argentina, and booming energy markets in Colombia and Peru have led many to bet on Latin America as the next energy frontier. Tempering the enthusiasm is the stagnation or even decline in output in other places — Bolivia, Mexico and Venezuela — despite the buried potential riches. Read more »

Debating Amnesty and Immigration Policy

by Shannon K. O'Neil

Yesterday I had an exchange with my CFR colleague, Ed Husain (who has a fantastic blog, “The Arab Street,”), about my last post on Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” plan. I wanted to post it here, to add to the lively debate on the issue of amnesty, and immigration reform more generally, and he graciously agreed. Below is our conversation: Read more »

Mexico’s 99 Percent: How the Next President Can Reduce Poverty and Inequality

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A boy from the "Insurgentes de la Paz" (Peace Insurgents) school receives lessons inside an old bus turned into a class room in the settlement of Pueblo Nuevo, Oaxaca (Courtesy Reuters). A boy from the "Insurgentes de la Paz" (Peace Insurgents) school receives lessons inside an old bus turned into a class room in the settlement of Pueblo Nuevo, Oaxaca (Courtesy Reuters).

It is campaign season in Mexico, and aside from security issues, front-runners Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the PRD are focusing on poverty and inequality. Both criticize the past two PAN governments for not improving the lot of Mexico’s poor, and for perpetuating if not exacerbating an uneven playing field that benefits the few and not the many. In a recent campaign stop in the Southern state of Veracruz, Peña Nieto came down hard on the PAN, saying “[the PRI] knows what Mexico hasn’t achieved in the past decade. We haven’t forgotten that more people are poor, that we haven’t had the economic growth that creates jobs that the public demands.” Read more »

Reads of the Week: Police Pay in Mexico

by Shannon K. O'Neil

Police pay became a hot topic of discussion over the past two weeks with the release of a Mexican government report breaking down police salary by state.  The disparities are stark — with police officers in Tamaulipas earning monthly salary of just $268, while their counterparts in Aguascalientes bring home about $1,342 a month. Read more »

Revitalizing the Border Governor’s Conference

by Shannon K. O'Neil

Governors (L-R) Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan of Baja, Humberto Moreira Valdes of Coahuila, Texas Governor Rick Perry, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jose Natividad Gonzalez Paras of Nuevo Leon, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Eduardo Bours Castelo of Sonora pose as characters from the movie "Terminator" at the 26th Border Governors Conference (Courtesy Reuters).

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