International

Venezuela leaves international human rights body

Nicolas Maduro calls the OAS an instrument of US imperialism in Latin America

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holds up a copy of his country's constitution during a press conference at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas on Sept. 09, 2013.
2013 AFP

Venezuela withdrew from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on Tuesday after President Nicolas Maduro and other Venezuelan leaders called the court an instrument of U.S. control in Latin America. 

Venezuela's exit from the human rights court -- which is affiliated with the Organization of American States -- comes a day after opposition leader Henrique Capriles sent documents to the OAS accusing Maduro of cheating him of the country's April 14 election. Capriles lost by less than 2 percent of the national vote in that race.

Maduro has billed himself as a disciple of socialist leader Hugo Chavez, who accused the OAS of orchestrating an attempted coup of his government in 2002. Chavez died of cancer in March. 

"The so-called human rights system, the inter-American court and the commission, are by-products of an instrument of persecution against progressive governments that began with President Chavez's arrival," Maduro said at a press conference on Monday. Venezuela announced a year ago that it would withdraw from the OAS human rights court.

Other leftist-led nations in the region, including Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, have also been strong critics of the OAS.

Human rights organizations have panned Venezuela's exit, saying the move will foment impunity and corruption in the nation.

The OAS, formed in 1949, is currently made up of 35 member-states in the Americas.

Venezuela’s withdrawal from the organization is the latest controversy for President Maduro.

Last week, news industry leaders in Venezuela said Maduro’s government was attempting to silence opposition by imposing strict regulations on the importation of newsprint. A group of journalists in Venezuela said at least eight regional newspapers had been forced to close because of the move.

Over the weekend, Maduro claimed the U.S. was planning to overthrow his government by sabotaging Venezuelans’ food, electricity and fuel supplies.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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