Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicolás Maduro, called on countries in the region to create institutions to defend human rights within organizations like the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
“We say to all our brothers and sisters of Latin America and the Caribbean that it’s time to dismantle that structure of the Inter-American Court and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. Let’s build from UNASUR and CELAC institutions to guarantee, protect, and guard human rights based on our experience.”
Maduro, who attended a UNASUR ministerial meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, highlighted the need to dismantle the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and its court because they are subdued to U.S. interests, reported the Spanish news agency EFE.
Last Monday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez asked the Council of State to study the withdrawal of Caracas from the IACHR for having demonstrated several times that it is an inefficient institution with double standards.
“We have many reasons, many, from a long time ago,” said Chávez after announcing the possible withdrawal. He argued that Venezuela “has to continue vindicating and building full national independence.”
For this reason, Maduro invited countries of the region to “guarantee and guard human rights based on our own experience,” and recalled that the U.S. has not signed any human rights protocol nor is it subject to decisions by the IACHR.
Last Monday, Chávez asked Vice President Elías Jaua to speed up the installation of the Council of State, an organism established by the Constitution to recommend domestic policies to the head of state. The Venezuelan president urged the council to present a proposal in the coming days to complete Venezuela’s withdrawal from the commission.
The Council of State will be led by Jaua, and its members include Venezuelan journalist José Vicente Rangel, Venezuela’s Ambassador to the OAS Roy Chaderton and attorney and writer Luis Britto García.
CELAC and UNASUR
In December 2011, heads of state met in the Venezuelan capital city of Caracas to found the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC), an organization that united 33 countries from the region for the first time in an integration bloc to make decisions without external impositions. Beyond being an institution of political dialogue, this novel mechanism has an agenda to strengthen unity, defend democracy, and promote cooperation on economic and social development in the region, and cultural exchange.
UNASUR is a regional group created in 2008 in the Brazilian capital city of Brasilia. It seeks to foster political, social, economic, cultural, environmental, and infrastructural integration among member states. It became operational last March 11, and includes 12 countries: Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Guyana, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.