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Human Rights in Latin America
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Human Rights in Latin America
A Politics of Terror and Hope

Sonia Cardenas

264 pages | 6 x 9 | 20 illus.
Paper 2011 | ISBN 9780812221527 | $26.50s | Outside the Americas £19.99
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
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"Through this book [Cardenas's] voice emerges as that of a determined but clear-eyed optimist, willing to confront the dark realities of politics and power but inclining toward what another Latin Americanist, Albert Hirschman, adopted as 'a bias for hope.' . . . In all, it is a remarkable compact synthesis on this sprawling subject."—Alexander Wilde, Journal of Latin American Studies

"Like the experience of human rights in Latin America which it details, Cardenas' text is rich and complex. Human Rights in Latin America: A Politics of Terror and Hope is a unique and engaging approach to the study of human rights in Latin America. It is a text that demands serious attention."—Carrie Booth Walling, Human Rights Quarterly

Sonia Cardenas emphasizes [the themes of terror and hope] in her informative and lucid text . . . . This well-researched and readable book will be useful to anyone wanting to learn more about this important topic."—James Franklin, Human Rights Review

"This is a book that can satisfy even the most demanding instructors . . . .Cardenas's analysis is always balanced, but at the same time she makes her points convincingly and forcefully."—Cesar Seveso, H-Net

"Solidly researched and gracefully written, Sonia Cardenas's Human Rights in Latin America fills a significant gap. It is a deceptively easy read, with plenty of substance but packaged in an accessible and fluent prose—a combination we see all too infrequently. It will be warmly welcomed by both students and their professors in courses on Latin American politics and inter-American relations."—Lars Schoultz. William Rand Kenan, Jr., Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

For the last half century, Latin America has been plagued by civil wars, dictatorships, torture, legacies of colonialism and racism, and other evils. The region has also experienced dramatic—if uneven—human rights improvements. The accounts of how Latin America's people have dealt with the persistent threats to their fundamental rights offer lessons for people around the world.

Human Rights in Latin America: A Politics of Terror and Hope is the first textbook to provide a comprehensive introduction to the human rights issues facing an area that constitutes more than half of the Western Hemisphere. Leading human rights researcher and educator Sonia Cardenas brings together regional examples of both terror and hope, emphasizing the dualities inherent in human rights struggles. Organized by three pivotal topics—human rights violations, reform, and accountability—this book offers an authoritative synthesis of research on human rights on the continent. From historical accounts of abuse to successful transnational campaigns and legal battles, Human Rights in Latin America explores the tensions underlying a vast range of human rights initiatives. In addition to surveying the roles of the United States, relatives of the disappeared, and truth commissions, Cardenas covers newer ground in addressing the colonial and ideological underpinnings of human rights abuses, emerging campaigns for disability and sexuality rights, and regional dynamics relating to the International Criminal Court.

Engagingly written and fully illustrated, Human Rights in Latin America creates an important niche among human rights and Latin American textbooks. Ample supplementary resources—including discussion questions, interdisciplinary reading lists, filmographies, online resources, internship opportunities, and instructor assignments—make this an especially valuable text for use in human rights courses.

Sonia Cardenas is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Human Rights Program at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. She is the author of Conflict and Compliance: State Responses to International Human Rights Pressure, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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