CARACAS – President Hugo Chavez announced Monday that Venezuela will withdraw from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, asking his vice president to convene a Cabinet meeting to address the issue.
“As head of state, the first thing I’m going to ask this Cabinet is for the study ... and the recommendation to the head of state for us to withdraw immediately from the sadly celebrated Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,” he said in a nationally broadcast address.
“That’s enough. How long? How long are we going to be with this sword of Damocles?” Chavez said.
“It is a mechanism the United States is using against us,” the leftist president said of the panel, which is a unit of the Organization of American States.
The Venezuelan Cabinet will draft and send to the “governments of the world” a document to make know the reasons for withdrawing the country from the OAS commission.
“We have enough reasons, enough, for a long time now,” added Chavez, who went on to say that Venezuela has to “continue demanding and constructing full national independence.”
He recalled that on April 12, 2002, during the coup that removed him from power for 48 hours, a group of people contacted the Inter-American Commission to ask that his rights be protected while he remained a prisoner.
“And what the Commission did is to respond to the most excellent government of (Pedro) Carmona,” who proclaimed himself president during the abortive putsch, Chavez added.
Venezuela recently attacked the Commission for alleged bias against Caracas and warned that he was planning to abandon it if it did not cease its “unfounded denunciations.”