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The Fate of Freedom ElsewhereHuman Rights and U.S. Cold War Policy toward Argentina$
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William Michael Schmidli

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451966

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451966.001.0001

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“Human Rights Is Suddenly Chic”

“Human Rights Is Suddenly Chic”

The Rise of The Movement, 1970–1976

(p.56) 3 “Human Rights Is Suddenly Chic”
The Fate of Freedom Elsewhere

William Michael Schmidli

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the rise of the human rights movement in U.S. foreign policy. In November 1974, Olga Talamante was arrested in Argentina five days after “State of Siege” provisions had been enacted, in which suspected subversives could be held indefinitely and without charges. Soon after, Olga’s parents formed the Olga Talamante Defense Committee (OTDC) and began a grassroots campaign on her behalf. The Talamantes’ dedication to securing Olga’s release eventually transformed the OTDC into a full-fledged social movement. The immense outpouring of solidarity the OTDC generated reflected the rising support for human rights in U.S. society and politics. Rooted in the struggle for civil rights and the anti-Vietnam War movements, and gaining strength as a result of widespread disillusionment with U.S. support for repressive regimes, the effort to institutionalize human rights in U.S. foreign policy and improve the protection of human rights overseas flourished in the early 1970s.

Keywords:   human rights movement, U.S. foreign policy, Olga Talamante, Olga Talamante Defense Committee, human rights

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