Venezuela threatens OAS pullout after criticism

CARACAS Sun May 10, 2009 5:56am IST

CARACAS May 9 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened on Saturday to withdraw from the Organization of American States, which he has accused of being dominated by Washington, after it criticized his government's human rights record.

The leftist Chavez and U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands in a much-publicized encounter at the organization's summit in Trinidad last month, the first sign of warming bilateral relations following a decade-long war of words.

"We have to ask why the OAS is relevant," Chavez said during a televised speech. "Venezuela could withdraw from the OAS and call on other peoples of the continent to free ourselves of those old institutions."

The OAS, which includes all countries in the Americas except communist-ruled Cuba, included Venezuela this week in a list of countries it said needed to do more to defend human rights.

Chavez, who accused the organization of backing a brief 2002 coup against him, told the OAS human rights commission to "go straight to hell."

He reaffirmed a proposal for Latin American nations to withdraw en masse from the organization and create a new group free of what he calls the imperialist influence of the United States.

Governments allied with Chavez have in the past offered rhetorical support for the proposal but have taken few concrete steps toward creating a new diplomatic body to represent the Western Hemisphere. (Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Reforms Push

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

India looks to sway Americans with nuclear power insurance plan  Full Article 

To Boost Growth

To Boost Growth

Crank up public spending to revive growth - chief economic adviser.   Full Article 

Bold Steps

Bold Steps

SpiceJet rescue plan marks bold bet on Indian aviation recovery.   Full Article 

New Airline

New Airline

Tata, Singapore Air venture Vistara to take off on Jan 9.  Full Article 

Online Sales

Online Sales

Knock knock. Who's there? Amazon's best-selling holiday author.  Full Article 

26/11 Plotter

26/11 Plotter

Pakistan to challenge bail for Mumbai attack "mastermind".  Full Article 

Chinese Economy

Chinese Economy

China revises up size of 2013 economy, sees no effect on 2014 growth.  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

BSE Sensex to hit 32,980 by December 2015  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage