The Latest: Venezuela notifies OAS of intention to leave

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7:40 p.m.

Venezuela has formally notified the Organization of American States of its intention to leave the regional body whose leader has been one of the fiercest critics of embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

Interim Ambassador Carmen Velasquez submitted a letter on Friday declaring the move to OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro in Washington.

The decision comes after a contentious meeting at the group's headquarters in which its permanent council voted in favor of holding a special session to evaluate Venezuela's crisis, adding to mounting international pressure for Maduro to schedule delayed elections and free detained political activists.

Tension have been steadily rising between Venezuela and a group of OAS members that includes the United States since Almagro issued a 75-page report in March accusing Maduro's government of systematically violating human rights and standards of democracy.