July 13, 2007
The Organization of American States said Thursday it will not send a mission to Venezuela to study President Hugo Chávez's controversial revocation of a TV station's license, because Caracas rejected the proposal.
The request was made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at a recent OAS meeting, invoking the Inter-American Democratic Charter, adopted in 2001.
Venezuela immediately attacked the request as foreign interference, and on July 9 it put its rejection in writing and made it official. OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza said the Venezuelans called the mission idea ``totally unacceptable.''
The OAS has been criticized for not taking a strong stand on the move against RCTV, once Venezuela's most popular channel. At the Panama meeting, several nations made broad statements defending media freedom -- but only the United States mentioned Venezuela by name.
Under OAS rules, no mission could go to Venezuela unless that country agreed, Insulza noted.
He added, however, that the RCTV case can be looked at by the semi-autonomous Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Chávez has defended the sanction against RCTV, which he accuses of coup-mongering. U.S. officials say that if Venezuela had nothing to hide, it should have received the mission.