Edward Cleary begins with the assertion that there is a distinctive human rights tradition in Latin America, dating from Bartolomé de Las Casas’s defense of the Indians after Spanish conquest. Jumping forward, Cleary then notes the role of Chilean Hernán Santa Cruz in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after World War II. Perhaps without Latin American insistence and participation, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would not have emerged from the initial actions of the United Nations. Pushing this idea even further, he asks, “Why is it that every country that suffered state repression in Latin America has done something about its past, while no other region has done so?” (p. 2).

Cleary’s celebration of Latin America’s distinctive human rights tradition and its recent progress in furthering human rights, and his contention that other regions have done little or...

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