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Hugo Chavez has signaled a retreat from Venezuela's efforts to gain a UN Security Council seat. Venezuela has offered to withdraw, as long as its rival Guatemala does the same and allows another country to assume the UNSC seat:
Venezuela says it will withdraw from a bitter contest to win a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council if its rival, Guatemala, does the same. Venezuela's foreign minister also said the US must end its "crude blackmail" of other nations in trying to secure a seat for its favoured candidate.
Neither Guatemala, which Venezuela says is a US proxy, nor Venezuela have polled enough votes yet to gain a seat.
Guatemala has reportedly rejected Bolivia as a compromise candidate. Bolivian President Evo Morales earlier said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had offered to let Bolivia take his country's place in the race. Bolivia, like its ally, Venezuela, has strained relations with the US.
Well, this came a little more quickly than I would have expected. Chavez has some political problems at home, and probably feels that he has better things to do at the moment than to continue his nose-tweaking of the Bush administration. Chavez may also have decided that his speech at the UN caused too much political damage for Venezuela to win the seat, and further efforts only amplify the embarrassment.
Chavez still wants to control that seat, if possible. He wants Latin America to choose Bolivia, whose government closely aligns itself with Chavez' neo-Castroism. So far, Latin America has no desire to allow Chavez to play kingmaker, especially since he seems rather unstable and threatened at home politically.
Which nation can win the two-thirds support necessary to get the UNSC seat? Costa Rica appears to be the next popular choice, but who knows? The US won't go with Chavez' puppet in Bolivia, and Guatemala will probably agree to withdraw to get Venezuela out of the race. Maybe the Costa Ricans can do what Mexico did in 1979 and end the competition quietly.
UPDATE: The New York Times also concludes that Chavez' UN rant cost Venezuela the Security Council seat:
Now it appears that Mr. Chávez’s histrionic performance — styled to win him support from the United States’ many detractors at the United Nations — may have cost his country the seat on the Security Council that he has conducted a global campaign to win.
Developing nations make up a vast majority of the 192 countries in the General Assembly and generally warm to rants against Washington. But they also value the United Nations as a place where their voices can be heard in a dignified setting, and both supporters and detractors here say Mr. Chávez may have miscalculated in turning it into his bully pulpit.
Delegates said they also feared that the performance demonstrated the kind of behavior Venezuela might bring to the orderly confines of the Council chamber.
When a head of state alienates the UN General Assembly for being too anti-American, he has really crossed a line. It's like The Vatican's College of Cardinals rejected a papal candidate for being a little too Catholic.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Venezuela Surrenders On Security Council Seat Hugo Chavez has signaled a retreat from Venezuela's efforts to gain a UN Security Council seat. Venezuela has offered to withdraw, as long as its rival Guatemala does the same and allows another country [Read More]
Tracked on October 25, 2006 9:59 AM
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