Death Squad Politics: Human Rights Advocacy and the Making of a Military Aid Package

Winifred Tate

Perspectives on Humanitarianism Lecture Series
Sponsored by International Studies Program

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
7 p.m.

The International Studies Program is pleased to present the Perspectives on Humanitarianism Lecture Series of five talks this spring. This is the fourth talk in the series.

In 2000, the US passed a major aid package that was going to help Colombia do it all: cut drug trafficking, defeat leftist guerrillas, support peace and build democracy. This Plan Colombia assistance was more 80% military aid, destined for corrupt and abusive security forces linked to brutal drug trafficking paramilitary groups. US-based activism opposing the assistance was centrally defined through a human rights framework, prompted in part by the eruption of contentious memories of the U.S. role in Central America. At the same time, human rights organizations became increasingly professionalized, and focused on influencing policy through lobbying for specific legislation. Through an analysis of the arguments and institutional strategies of aid package supporters and critics during the policymaking process, Professor Tate examines the limits of US solidarity efforts and how human rights advocacy has emerged as a form of state formation.

Winifred Tate is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Colby College and the author of the award winning Counting the Dead: The Culture and Politics of Human Rights Advocacy (University of California Press, 2007) and Plan Colombia: U.S. Policy and Proxy Wars (forthcoming, Stanford University Press).

Co-sponsored by the  International Studies Program, CLAS, Academic Innovation Fund, Dept. of Anthropology and Dept. of Earth and Environment

This event is open to the public.

Free; no tickets required.

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