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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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A Special Responsibility

A Special Responsibility

Human Rights and U.S.-Chilean Relations

(p.112) Chapter 3 A Special Responsibility
Principles in Power

Vanessa Walker

Cornell University Press

This chapter addresses U.S. relations with Chile during the Carter administration as an avenue to explore the innate tensions within a policy that simultaneously sought to promote human rights abroad and champion nonintervention. The administration, seeking to appeal to both domestic and international constituencies, sought an approach that balanced distancing the U.S. government from the Pinochet regime, maintaining pressure to improve human rights, and avoiding overt interference in domestic Chilean affairs, which could prompt a nationalist backlash. The competing demands of demonstrating to domestic audiences a cooler relationship with the Pinochet regime on the one hand, and implementing a human rights policy that would improve conditions in Chile on the other, shaped and at times undermined the Carter administration's efforts. The administration was always aware that its leverage was limited and that regime change from without was not a primary objective. The assassination of former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier in Washington, D.C., on September 21, 1976, highlighted the tensions between the domestic and foreign policy objectives of the administration's human rights policy.

Keywords:   U.S.–Chilean Relations, Chile, Carter administration, nonintervention, Pinochet regime, human rights policy, Orlando Letelier, foreign policy, domestic policy

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