Friday, August 25, 2006

Venezeula's Race for the UN Security Council

All of President Hugo Chávez’s globetrotting is paying off—he announced that China is backing Venezuela for the rotating UN Security Council position. In return, China will be helping to explore potential oil fields in Venezuela to continue meeting its demand at home.

Chávez is slowly but surely collecting important promises, even getting several countries at once (like Mercosur and Caricom). But all his traveling is garnering votes outside the region as well, such as Ghana, Zimbabwe, Mali, Syria and Russia.

The bottom line: there is no consensus candidate for Latin America, because the U.S. wants Guatemala (which has only a sprinkling of regional support, mostly from its Central American neighbors). This means the entire UN General Assembly must vote on it, and a 2/3 vote is required. If all countries vote (I do not know how common that is) then that total would be 90. The vote is in October.


Anonymous,  11:25 AM  

I find it curious that it is Chavez that is stating he has these countries support. Chavez routinly lies about these things (ie. illiteracy has been abolished, UNESCO denied this, etc...). Is there a possibility Chavez thinks he has their vote when in actuality he doesn't? What if some countries in Latin America decide to not vote Venezuela at the last min. BTW, do you know if the voting is secret?

Also even if he gets the UN seat it doesn't mean he will be there to enjoy it. Presidential elecions are Dec 3rd and it seems the government is realizing it won't be as easy as they thought.

Greg Weeks 11:56 AM  

Good questions. First, if Chávez is lying about other government's intentions, why have they not said so? Would Russia or China really allow it?

Second, of course we don't know whether votes will shift. I believe that General Assembly voting is public (i.e. a recorded vote), if requested. If not requested, then we only see the summary. There is no doubt that up to the end, Chávez will be offering incentives, while the U.S. will be twisting arms.

Third, that campaign and election are going to be very interesting, esp. since the opposition is beginning to unify.

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