Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua announced Tuesday they are withdrawing from a regional defense treaty dating back to the Cold War.
"Our countries have made the decision to bury what deserves to be buried, to throw into the trash what is no longer useful," Ricardo Patino, Ecuador's foreign minister, said in reference to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance.
The treaty, created in 1947, came into being under US leadership at the start of the Cold War and was considered an important tool with which Washington was able to exert influence on Latin America until the 1980s.
The treaty calls for OAS members to defend each other of attacked by an outside party.
The pull-out was announced at a meeting of the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS). The four countries in question have taken issue with OAS's Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, accusing it of being too close to the United States.