Four countries in Latin America have decided to withdraw from the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal.
Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua no longer believe the regional defense treaty, dating back to the Cold War, is relevant.
“Our countries have made the decision to bury what deserves to be buried, to throw into the trash what is no longer useful,” Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said.
The treaty, created in 1947, was formulated under US leadership at the start of the Cold War. Washington was able to use the treaty to exert influence on Latin America until the 1980s.
The treaty stipulates member nations of the Organization of American States (OAS) to defend each other if attacked by an outside party.
The countries announced their withdrawal at an OAS meeting in Bolivia on Tuesday. All four nations had problems with the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, accusing it of being too close to the United States.
It was a largely symbolic decision by left-leaning allies that belong to the Bolivarian Alliance, or ALBA bloc, that have joined in calling for changes to the Washington-based OAS.
The four nations have strongly criticized the OAS’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, accusing it of acting in concert with the U.S. government to target leftist governments.
Bolivian President Evo Morales wants to weaken the independent commission along with a related OAS body that monitors freedom of expression. Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, joined him in criticizing the rights commission at the meeting.
Venezuela has said it wants to abandon the rights body, and Ecuador has proposed that the OAS restrict the panel’s independence.