CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Monday that his government should pull out of the Organization of American States' human rights body.
Chavez said in a televised speech that he's asking a newly created Council of State to take up his proposal to immediately withdraw from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The Washington-based commission has repeatedly been critical of the human rights situation in Venezuela.
"We should have pulled out of that commission" already, the president said. He had previously expressed an interest in withdrawing from the rights commission in 2010.
He called the rights body a "sword of Damocles" and accused the U.S. government of using it to attack his socialist-oriented government.
Chavez appeared on television at the presidential palace, saying he would return to Cuba soon for the "home stretch" of his cancer treatment.
He has been undergoing treatment since a surgery in Cuba last June that removed a tumor from his pelvic region. He has been receiving radiation therapy after a second surgery that removed a tumor from the same area in February.
"They aren't easy days, but we're a warrior for facing adversity, and with faith in God and Christ the Redeemer, and with that immense love of the Venezuelan people and with this will to live, to fight ... we'll get through this," Chavez said.
Chavez created the new Council of State in a law that he approved by decree in January. Venezuela's constitution provides for a Council of State, saying it should be headed by the vice president and should recommend policies on issues that the president deems to be of particular importance.
Chavez proposed Monday that the council should convene to take up the matter of pulling out of the human rights commission. He also proposed that two of its members include longtime allies Jose Vicente Rangel, a former vice president, and Luis Brito Garcia, a writer and intellectual.