Venezuela's top diplomat says Latin American nations should create their own regional human rights commission and exclude the United States as a means of preventing Washington from meddling in their domestic affairs.

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro mentioned the proposal during a Thursday meeting of South American diplomats, defense ministers and security officials in Colombia's coastal city of Cartagena. It was not formally discussed during the meeting.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Monday that his government should pull out of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, saying U.S. officials hold sway over it.

Those remarks drew criticism from Venezuelan human rights activists, the president's political opponents and the U.S. government.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has been strongly critical of the human rights situation in Venezuela during recent years.