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Principles in PowerLatin America and the Politics of U.S. Human Rights Diplomacy$
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Vanessa Walker

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501713682

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501713682.001.0001

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Words Are Not Enough

Words Are Not Enough

Building a Human Rights Agenda in the Shadow of the Past

(p.62) Chapter 2 Words Are Not Enough
Principles in Power

Vanessa Walker

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes the early development of the Carter administration's human rights agenda, built in tandem with a new approach to U.S.–Latin American relations during its first year in office. From the outset, the Carter administration envisioned a human rights policy that would simultaneously mitigate human rights violations abroad, build U.S. credibility and stature in the international sphere by reasserting a moral and ideological pole of attraction, and signify a move away from the excessive secrecy and power of the Cold War presidency at home. Although Carter largely shared the premises of the Movement's vision, differences over the implementation and signifiers of this policy in high-level diplomacy created rifts between like-minded advocates and policy makers. Carter found himself grappling with the legacies of both U.S. intervention in the region and also congressional and public distrust stemming from past excesses of the Cold War presidency. The administration's options in implementing its policy were bounded by both past regional relations and human rights advocacy itself.

Keywords:   Carter administration, human rights agenda, U.S.–Latin American relations, human rights policy, Cold War presidency, U.S. intervention, human rights advocacy

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