Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The UN race continues

Juan Tokatlián, a professor in Argentina who has published widely on security and international relations in Latin America, wrote an Op-Ed in the Miami Herald providing some historical insight into the Venezuela-Guatemala UN hubbub. He notes how the same thing happened in 1979, when Cuba and Colombia were vying for the seat, and the General Assembly voted 154 times without ever gaining the necessary 2/3. Ultimately, both sides backed down, and Mexico was brought in as a consensus candidate. Tokatlián suggests that Latin America should choose a different country—he suggests Uruguay—and present it as a consensus candidate.

It’s hard to see that happening, since Hugo Chávez is so set on getting the seat, though I do agree that Uruguay would be a great candidate.

Meanwhile, both the U.S. (no less than Condoleezza Rice herself) and Venezuela want a meeting with Chile at the UN to discuss its vote. President Bachelet is keeping quiet, but is facing a split within the Concertación coalition. It is mostly the Socialist Party that favors Venezuela, while the others (especially the Christian Democrats) want either Guatemala or a new candidate. Bachelet is viewed as leaning toward Venezuela because a) it is a South America candidate, already supported by many other South American countries (this article claims Peru is leaning toward Guatemala, which contradicts statements that García has made); and b) Venezuela lobbied hard to get José Miguel Insulza (a Chilean) installed as Secretary General of the OAS, while Guatemala (and the U.S.) opposed him.


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