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Human Rights Practices and the Distribution of U.S. Foreign Aid to Latin American Countries

David L. Cingranelli and Thomas E. Pasquarello
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 29, No. 3 (Aug., 1985), pp. 539-563
DOI: 10.2307/2111142
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111142
Page Count: 25
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Human Rights Practices and the Distribution of U.S. Foreign Aid to Latin American Countries
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Abstract

Do the human rights practices of other nations influence U.S. foreign policy? The most relevant research on this question concluded that the distribution of U.S. foreign aid among Latin American countries has tended to reward human rights violators and punish human rights champions. This paper reexamines the relationship between human rights practices and the distribution of U.S. economic and military assistance to Latin America in fiscal 1982. The findings suggest an increased importance for human rights considerations in U.S. bilateral aid decisions. They also provide evidence of a two-stage bilateral aid allocation process, with different factors affecting decisions at each stage. Human rights practices were found to be related to the decision to provide or not to provide military assistance and to the decision to provide particular levels of economic assistance to Latin American nations. Though most attention has been focused upon the role of U.S. presidents in shaping foreign policy, the findings suggest that human rights considerations have become institutionalized in the foreign aid distribution process largely because of the consistent emphasis placed on human rights by Congress since the mid 1970s.

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