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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Guest Post: U.S. Students are Heading to Latin America, Just Not to Mexico

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil
A boy walks past a mural depicting a child shooting an RPG loaded with school supplies in Ciudad Juarez February 10, 2012 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). A boy walks past a mural depicting a child shooting an RPG loaded with school supplies in Ciudad Juarez February 10, 2012 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Stephanie Leutert, a research associate here at the Council on Foreign Relations, who works with me in the Latin America Studies program.

Secretary John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden recently announced the new State Department directed 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund. It ambitiously aims to have 100,000 U.S. students in Latin America and 100,000 Latin American students in the United States by 2020. This initiative builds on the increasing interest in the region; during the 2011-2012 school year over 44,000 U.S. students headed south. Still these growing numbers hide the changing geographic interests, including the increasing popularity of Brazil and Costa Rica and the steep declines in semesters abroad in Mexico. Read more »

North America’s Economic Integration

by Shannon K. O'Neil
General Motors auto workers load the new Chevrolet Camaro for delivery, at the company's Oshawa Ontario facility, April 8, 2009 (Fred Thornhill/Courtesy Reuters). General Motors auto workers load the new Chevrolet Camaro for delivery, at the company's Oshawa Ontario facility, April 8, 2009 (Fred Thornhill/Courtesy Reuters).

Alan Berube and Joseph Parilla at the Brookings Institution recently published a report on the impressive amount of North American regional trade (with a great interactive that traces exports and imports across the continent). U.S. cities send and receive over $500 billion in goods from Mexican and Canadian cities—out of a total $1.1 trillion in intra-regional trade in 2012. The vast majority (some 69 percent) of this trade is in advanced industries (aerospace, automotive, electronics, machinery, pharmaceuticals, and precision instruments), an economic bright spot in the recovering U.S. economy. Here is a quick look at just how vital the United States’ regional trading ties are for its economic strength and competitiveness. Read more »

U.S. Passes the Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreement with Mexico

by Shannon K. O'Neil
The "Lolair" drilling platform from state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) is seen off the port of Veracruz, Mexico June 7, 2012 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). The "Lolair" drilling platform from state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) is seen off the port of Veracruz, Mexico June 7, 2012 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Tacked onto the bipartisan budget, the U.S. Congress passed the long-awaited Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreement with Mexico. Signed in 2012 by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, it lays the groundwork for U.S. and Mexican cooperation across some 1.5 million acres of shared oil and natural gas resources in the Gulf of Mexico. The agreement creates guidelines for determining the scope of the deep-water fields and how companies acting on behalf of each country can work together to access these reserves, and creates mechanisms for dispute resolution and for safety and environmental protection. Read more »

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 »