Promoting Democracy? The Role of Transnational Non-State Actors in Inter-American Relations 1980-1993
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AbstractThis thesis examines the role of three non-state actors -- Freedom House, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) -- in the creation and implementation of US policy towards Latin America from 1980 to 1993. The Reagan administration oversaw a key change in US Latin American policy to a focus on democracy promotion, which took over from Carter’s human rights policy as the moral justification for US policy towards the region. This created a tension in the US between the liberal human rights movement of the 1970s and a new neo-conservative human rights movement which supported Reagan’s democracy promotion policies. The years that frame this study cover the establishment of democracy promotion as the primary inter-American policy. Moreover, the inclusion of the early 1990s allows for an assessment of the extent to which this policy changed after the end of the Cold War. This thesis will take a comparative approach allowing me to examine the role played by different types of non-state actors as well as the relationships between the Reagan administration and both the liberal and neo-conservative human rights movements. Furthermore, this thesis will provide two case studies (Chile and Nicaragua) to examine how these organisations interacted with US foreign policy in the context of specific Latin American countries. The first four chapters of this thesis examine the three organisation’s various backgrounds, their sources of funding and their networks in the US and Latin America, while the final two chapters examine the consequences of these findings for their policies towards Chile and Nicaragua. This research hopes to contribute to the historiography of human rights, of inter-American relations and of the interactions between non-state actors and the US government.