Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Global and International Studies
Project Advisor 1
Domestic politics in Latin America since the end of the Cold War has been characterized by the complicated process of coming to terms with its violent past. For years, the United States has had the power to aid in investigations into crimes committed during the Latin American dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s. The US was so deeply involved in the dictatorships that thousands of pages of evidence on the crimes committed are available in CIA, Military, and Presidential archives. Through making these classified documents available, the United States has a unique opportunity to make amends for its involvement in Latin America and to live up to its self-crafted reputation of promoting global democracy and justice. Yet, declassification projects have been limited, drawn out, contentious, and deeply political. I argue that the American resistance to assisting the nations of Latin America in coming to terms with their difficult and painful histories reflects the primacy of political concerns over ethical and legal issues when presidents consider major declassification projects. This behavior reflects a persistent trend in U.S. foreign policy of placing interests ahead of values. US presidential administrations are aware that they hold tremendous political power in the information concerning Cold War-era Latin American dictatorships that exists in classified and declassified documents in the United States. As this project demonstrates, a president will never offer information to Latin American countries solely for transparency’s sake- but will only declassify documents if it is clear that there will be tangible political gains from a declassification project.
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Snodgrass, Isabel, "Strategic Transparency: Declassification Politics in United States- Latin American Relations" (2018). Senior Projects Spring 2018. 222.