Widespread forced disappearances, summary executions, and torture practiced by the military regimes in Argentina and Chile came to define human rights abuse during the 1970s and 1980s. Opposition to these practices and their parent regimes helped to shape the contemporary human rights movement and, by extension, human rights norms and institutions. Thomas C. Wright's State Terrorism in Latin America contends that the movement's struggle with the Argentine and Chilean dictatorships resulted in an era of greater deterrence and enforcement power for human rights institutions. Sonia Cardenas' Conflict and Compliance, however, maintains that despite the advance in norms and the creation of supranational structures to promote accountability for human rights abuse, the mechanisms for changing state practice have remained remarkably constant throughout the past three decades. Both in Latin America and elsewhere, domestic forces and cost-benefit analysis—at times aided by international pressure—continue to be the principal determinants of state behavior in the field of human rights.

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