Venezuela quits regional rights bodies it calls U.S. pawns

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – Venezuela withdrew yesterday from the Organization of American States’ (OAS) human-rights bodies, which it has denounced as pawns of U.S. foreign policy that have been antagonistic to the South American nation’s socialist government for years.

Venezuela’s formal exit from the OAS’s rights court and commission, a move it announced 12 months ago, came a day after opposition leader Henrique Capriles sent documents to the OAS accusing President Nicolas Maduro of cheating him of the country’s April 14 election.

Maduro, who has presented himself as a disciple of his socialist predecessor Hugo Chavez, said this week that his former boss had rightly perceived Venezuela’s sovereignty and pride were at stake as a result of bias shown by the OAS’s rights bodies.

“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,” he told a news conference on Monday.

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