|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in one chronological series.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains articles, essays, reports, and minutes collected by the organization and covering topics including a Roman Catholic bishops conference in Puerto Rico in 1970, early lectures on liberation theology, articles on the church's struggle against compulsory military service in Puerto Rico, and snapshots of torture cases in Colombia, Brazil, and El Salvador. The majority of the documents are in Spanish.
Burke Library record group:
Missionary Research Library Archives: MRL9, Latin America
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.
Item description, MRL9: M.I.A.U. and LAB News Service records, 1970-1971, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Formerly part of the independent Missionary Research Library (MRL), these records were accessioned by the Burke Library at the time of the MRL's closure in 1976.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
When the Burke Library acquired the M.I.A.U./LAB news service papers, an attempt was made to maintain the original order imposed on the contents. Folded materials were flattened. Staples, rubber bands, and metal clips were removed and replaced with plastic clips. All materials were placed in acid-free folders and boxes. The finding aid was created by Miguel Escobar in 2006, reviewed and updated by Brigette Kamsler in 2014 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2022.
2022-05-25 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The M.I.A.U. and LAB News Service recorded the Latin American liberation movements during the years 1970-71. As a news service, its documents give critical insight into the Roman Catholic Church's varied response to the human rights violations of Latin America's repressive regimes. Based in the United States, many of the documents focus on U.S. involvement in economic oppressions and human rights violations. The M.I.A.U./LAB news service began in 1970 as a Roman Catholic effort to promote the spread of "precise information" on events in Latin America despite the "growing censorship of the press by various repressive governments in Latin America." The group began under the direction of U.S. Roman Catholic leaders concerned with Latin America's political situation, such as Louis Michael Colonnese, then director of the Catholic Inter-American Cooperation Program (CICOP). CICOP was a "broad popular education effort designed to inform and, if possible, inspire people on the realities of Latin America." By the 1970's, the annual CICOP meetings drew large numbers of people committed to aiding Latin America in its emerging struggles. M.I.A.U. news service was founded by attendees at the seventh annual CICOP meeting in 1970. In his recollection of its founding, Louis M. Colonnese also notes that M.I.A.U. was a reaction against the recent creation of LATIN —an "establishment" news service agency that would downplay human rights violations. M.I.A.U. stands for the Movimiento de Información y Acción Urgente and deliberately evokes the sound a cat makes when its tail is being stepped on. By 1971, however, members of M.I.A.U. decided to change their name to LAB services. They thereby became closely affiliated with the National Catholic Welfare Council's Latin American Bureau (LAB) which fell under the church's Social Action Department. While maintaining a focus on reporting human rights abuses otherwise censored, LAB sought to increase the interchange of information between U.S. Catholics and Latin America. During the critical years of 1970-71, M.I.A.U./LAB services experienced a concretization of method and themes. With regards to method, international members of LAB service were to create a summary of the most important events in their respective countries and send this information as an original article to LAB service's headquarters in Washington. This original article was then reproduced and sent through LAB service to its subscribing members. Themes of distributed articles included: Economic networks in Latin America; Political networks in Latin America; Cultural colonialism and neo-colonialism (especially in relation to media and communications); The rise of new multi-national corporations; News that should be distributed in North America; Information on liberation movements in the United States which are important for Latin America; Articles which appear in the North American press about Latin America which are nevertheless difficult to obtain in Latin America.