Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Venezuelan president calls for withdrawal from OAS rights body

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during a reunion with government members in Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas on April 11, 2012

Source: Press TV

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his country should withdraw from the Organization of American States' human rights body, accusing it of serving the interests of the United States.

Speaking in a televised speech on Monday, the Venezuelan leader said he would ask a newly created Council of State to take up his proposal and immediately pull Venezuela out of the "infamous" Washington-based organization.

"Enough already!" he said. "How long are we going to have this sword of Damocles dangling over us? ... This is a tool the United States uses against us," Chavez said. "We should have withdrawn from it some time ago already."

The new Council of State, headed by Venezuela’s vice-president was approved by Chavez's decree in January and is tasked with recommending policies on issues considered by the president as important.

The Venezuelan leader accused Washington of using the rights commission as a tool to defame his country. Relations between the two states have been strained for years and since 2010 they have downgraded relations by recalling their ambassadors.

The 57-year-old president had asked for withdrawal from Inter-American Human Rights Commission, (IACHR) back in 2010.

The IACHR, which is part of the Organization of American States (OAS), has been critical of what it calls human rights violations in the Latin American country as well as in Columbia, Cuba and Honduras.

The IACHR staff, meanwhile, have been banned from visiting Caracas since 2002 after the OAS recognized the de facto government which ousted Chavez from power for 48 hours.

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