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 "Venezuela"

Guest Post: Maduro’s Limited Foreign Policy Agenda

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) meets Venezuela's Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro (L) in Tehran October 5, 2008. (Raheb Homavandi/Courtesy Reuters). Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) meets Venezuela's Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro (L) in Tehran October 5, 2008. (Raheb Homavandi/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 program.

In recent years, Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has played a leading role in crafting some of his country’s best known foreign policy and regional integration initiatives. Serving as Hugo Chávez’s foreign minister from 2006 to 2012, Maduro made a name for himself in the foreign policy world through his more radical policy (toward states such as Syria, Iran, and Libya) and at times, more pragmatic approach (especially toward Colombia). But in his role as president, Maduro’s foreign policy agenda has diminished, and will likely stay that way as long as his capacity to project abroad is limited by the turmoil at home. Read more »

Venezuela’s Economy and Future

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Women wait in line as they buy toilet paper at a supermarket in Caracas May 17, 2013 (Jorge Silva/Courtesy Reuters). Women wait in line as they buy toilet paper at a supermarket in Caracas May 17, 2013 (Jorge Silva/Courtesy Reuters).

Many Venezuela watchers have been waiting for the other proverbial economic shoe to drop (see here, here, and here), and for the country to fall into serious crisis. Others, such as Mark Weisbrot co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, question this premise, arguing in his Guardian column that Venezuela has and will continue to make progress using its own economic model. So where does the nation stand? Read more »

Venezuela’s Election and the Future of Chavismo

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A woman walks past a mural depicting Venezuela's acting President and presidential candidate Nicolas Maduro (R) and Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez in Caracas April 12, 2013 (Tomas Bravo/Courtesy Reuters). A woman walks past a mural depicting Venezuela's acting President and presidential candidate Nicolas Maduro (R) and Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez in Caracas April 12, 2013 (Tomas Bravo/Courtesy Reuters).

On Sunday some fifteen million Venezuelans headed to the polls to choose between Nicolás Maduro (Chávez’s heir apparent) and Henrique Capriles (the opposition’s leader). In an election many expected to be a sweep for Maduro, official tallies showed Capriles falling short by less than 300,000 votes (1.6 percent of the total). Though it now seems unlikely that an electoral apparatus firmly in the hands of Chavistas will allow a recount or overturn the results, this doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Venezuela’s democracy. And having Maduro at the helm in the coming months and years should complicate the legacy of Chavismo, helping Venezuela’s opposition in the medium to long term. Read more »

New Era for U.S.-Venezuela Relations?

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro (C) greets supporters next to his wife Cilia Flores (R) during a parade to commemorate the 21st anniversary of President Hugo Chavez's attempted coup d'etat in Caracas (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Courtesy Reuters). Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro (C) greets supporters next to his wife Cilia Flores (R) during a parade to commemorate the 21st anniversary of President Hugo Chavez's attempted coup d'etat in Caracas (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Courtesy Reuters).

Much of the discussion surrounding Chavez’s passing has focused on what his absence will mean for Venezuela’s internal politics, but below is my take for the BBC on how it may affect U.S.-Venezuela relations. You can also read the article here. Read more »

Chávez Loses Battle to Cancer

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez waves to supporters during his arrival at Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa (Edgard Garrido/Courtesy Reuters) Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez waves to supporters during his arrival at Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa (Edgard Garrido/Courtesy Reuters)

After fourteen years in power, Vice President Nicolás Maduro announced this evening that President Hugo Chávez had lost his long and secretive battle with cancer. Chávez’s legacy will surely be mixed, as he leaves a divided political class and precarious economic situation, but his policies and Chavismo will likely live on. I spoke tonight with Marcus Mabry from the New York Times about what his death could mean for Venezuela, Latin America, and the United States—you can watch the video here.

What to Watch in 2013: Latin America’s Presidential Elections

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Nicaraguan police carry ballot boxes, which will be used for the upcoming presidential election, in Managua Nicaraguan police carry ballot boxes, which will be used for the upcoming presidential election, in Managua (Oswaldo Rivas/Courtesy Reuters).

Last year Mexico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic held presidential elections, leading to some of the region’s biggest news stories of the year: the PRI’s return to power and the strong second place showing from Venezuela’s opposition. With four scheduled presidential elections (and a possible fifth) in 2013, along with congressional and municipal elections in Argentina and Venezuela respectively, here is what you should be watching. Read more »

Election Day Roundup

by Shannon K. O'Neil
People wait to vote at Good Shepherd Methodist Church during the U.S. presidential election in Kissimmee, Florida People wait to vote at Good Shepherd Methodist Church during the U.S. presidential election in Kissimmee, Florida (Scott Miller/Courtesy Reuters).

As Americans vote today, a record 23 million Latinos can head to the polls. Here is a roundup of the candidates’ stated views on immigration, regional security, and trade with Latin America—issues that are often of direct interest for this growing voter bloc, but also will more generally affect all Americans over the next four years. Read more »

Evolution of Latin America’s Economies

by Shannon K. O'Neil

I’ve been looking recently at the structural changes in many of Latin America’s economies (through the evolution of their exports). The different trajectories are quite striking, as you can see in the graphs below.

Out of Latin America’s biggest economies, Mexico has transformed the most. In the 1980s the manufacturing sector comprised just 10 percent of total exports; today it is over 75 percent. Mexico’s economic diversification and dynamism, especially in the automotive and electronic industries, have held oil at a steady 10-15 percent of exports for the last twenty years, even as oil prices have risen (though, in fairness, production has also declined). Read more »

Venezuelan Election Roundup

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez waves the national flag while celebrating from a balcony at Miraflores Palace in Caracas (Jorge Silva/Courtesy Reuters). Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez waves the national flag while celebrating from a balcony at Miraflores Palace in Caracas (Jorge Silva/Courtesy Reuters).

On Sunday Hugo Chávez won his third presidential term. With 55 percent of the total vote, he bested opponent Henrique Capriles by almost 11 percent. With the dust now settling and celebrations or mourning (depending on your politics) coming to an end, here is a roundup of insights into how and why Chávez defeated Capriles, and what this might mean for the next six years. Read more »

Latin America Becomes More Competitive

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Brazilian children Alexandre da Costa (L) and Augusto Ribeiro use a computer at Mare slum in Rio de Janeiro (Sergio Moraes/Courtesy Reuters). Brazilian children Alexandre da Costa (L) and Augusto Ribeiro use a computer at Mare slum in Rio de Janeiro (Sergio Moraes/Courtesy Reuters).

The Global Competitiveness Index for 2012-2013 came out this month, ranking 144 countries from around the world on twelve “pillars of competitiveness” (ranging from “basic requirements” such as institutions and infrastructure to more advanced categories such as innovation and business sophistication). In its rankings, Latin America’s countries fell pretty much right in the list’s center, with three countries (Chile, Panama, and Brazil) ranking in the top third, six countries falling in the bottom third (El Salvador, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Venezuela), and the rest spread throughout the middle. Read more »