ALBA takes a swing at OAS, IACHR

(posted June 4, 11:10 a.m.)- Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said the leftwing countries of ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance for Our Americas) will take advantage of this week’s General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Bolivia to denounce “the degradation that the OAS and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has suffered from falling into the hands of the interests of the United States.”

“There is a serious questioning of the Inter-American System of Human Rights and how it has been deriving and degrading in recent years, becoming an instrument to execute the foreign policy of the U.S. State Department,” said Maduro, echoing his President Hugo Chávez.

ALBA Amigos: Presidents Daniel Ortega, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales (photo/ Tim Rogers)

In early May, Chávez announced his plan to pull Venezuela out of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Christopher Sabatini, editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly, noted in his blog last month that the last Latin American president to make a similar threat was Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori in 2000, when the human rights commission handed down a series of recommendations about death squad killings, the seizure of a private television station and the sacking of a constitutional court judge. 

Bolivian President Evo Morales also took a punch at the OAS and the IACHR during his opening speech to the General Assembly. He called for the elimination of the human-rights commission and said the OAS has only served to “perpetuate the hegemony of the US in its attempts to repress social movements and combat socialism” in the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not attending the OAS meeting in Cochabamba, Bolivia.