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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Many Stories, One Juárez

by Shannon K. O'Neil
People release white doves after a religious service celebrated in Ciudad Juárez, January 30, 2011 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). People release white doves after a religious service celebrated in Ciudad Juárez, January 30, 2011 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

I had the great honor of participating in a fundraiser in El Paso last week—organized by the Somos Fund—to support after school programs and scholarships for kids affected by violence in Ciudad Juárez. It has now been almost four years since the Villas de Salvárcar massacre, where gunmen burst into a birthday party and gunned down fifteen young people in what was a case of horrifying mistaken identity. Since then, the families have channeled their grief into improving Ciudad Juárez for the many youths still living there, and the funds raised at the event will go toward supporting their work. (You can also donate here by typing Somos Fund under the project name). Read more »

Discussing Mexico at the Texas Book Festival

by Shannon K. O'Neil
C-SPAN2 C-SPAN2

This past Sunday I was in Austin, Texas at the Texas Book Festival. I had the honor of moderating a panel about two great books on Mexico, Ricardo Ainslie’s The Fight to Save Juárez – Life in the Heart of Mexico’s Drug War and Alfredo Corchado’s Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent into Darkness. You can watch a video of our conversation here (starting at 5:15), courtesy of C-SPAN2.

North America’s Energy Boom

by Shannon K. O'Neil

The past week, I participated in an IMF panel discussion on the North American energy boom with fellow energy watchers Alejandro Werner, Director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, Alejandro Diaz de León Carrillo, Mexico’s Deputy Undersecretary for Public Credit of the Ministry of Finance, John Murray, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, and Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman of IHS, and moderator Enrique Acevedo of Univision. There were many thoughtful takes on what is and is not happening, and how it may affect not just regional but also global markets. You can watch it here: 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 »

Review of Smuggler Nation

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Oxford University Press, 2013. Oxford University Press, 2013.

In Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America (Oxford University Press, 2013), Peter Andreas, a professor in the Department of Political Science and the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, illuminates the long history of U.S. smuggling. From inciting the Revolutionary War (and later helping George Washington and his troops gain the advantage) to jump starting America’s Industrial Revolution through stolen technology and human know-how, from later perpetuating the slave trade and the Civil War, to more recently providing workers for U.S. farms and service jobs (all the while catering to America’s vices), smuggling has been part of the breadth of U.S. history. Read more »

A Strategy to Reduce Gun Trafficking and Violence in the Americas

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A pink assault rifle hangs among others at an exhibit booth at the George R. Brown convention center, the site for the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meeting in Houston, Texas May 5, 2013 (Adrees Latif/Courtesy Reuters). A pink assault rifle hangs among others at an exhibit booth at the George R. Brown convention center, the site for the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meeting in Houston, Texas May 5, 2013 (Adrees Latif/Courtesy Reuters).

My CFR colleague Julia Sweig just published a policy innovation memorandum outlining “A Strategy to Reduce Gun Trafficking and Violence in the Americas,” where she argues that lax U.S. gun laws contribute to Latin America’s high rates of gun-related homicide and violence. The recommendations take domestic political challenges into consideration and offer a path for the Obama administration—in line with the Second Amendment—to both diminish the flow of guns and ammo to the south and to enhance the United States’ diplomatic standing in the region. Read more »

Security Cooperation in Mexico

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Shannon O'Neil Hearing - LAM

I was in Washington D.C. this past Tuesday to give testimony on U.S.-Mexico security cooperation at a Senate Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere and Global Narcotics Affairs’ hearing. You can read my written testimony here or watch the full hearing video here—which also includes insightful perspectives from Nik Steinberg, Senior Researcher in the Americas Division at Human Rights Watch, and Duncan Wood, the Director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. As well as government officials, Roberta S. Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, William R. Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and Mark Feierstein, Assistant Administrator for Bureau of Latin America and the Caribbean. Read more »

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 »