In 2009, as the American Convention on Human Rights turned forty, Left-wing governments ruled in almost all Latin American countries. The democratization wave that began in the late 1980s had produced a seemingly hegemonic turn to the Left—the so-called “Pink Tide.” A decade later, the political landscape was radically different. With only a few exceptions, Right-wing governments are in power throughout Latin America. The implications of the conservative wave have been felt in a number of areas—including human rights. This essay explores the ways in which the new conservative governments of Latin American have tried to curb the inter-American human rights system and examines the potential long-term consequences that their efforts may have on the regional system and the protection of human rights. It then suggests possible avenues for sound engagement between states and the system, observing that the Inter-American Court's expansive case law may cause more harm in the long run.
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