Friday, September 23, 2011

Colombia and Palestinian membership

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is getting some domestic heat for his government's announcement that Colombia would abstain from a vote on Palestinian membership in the UN. An opposition party, the Polo Democrático Alternativo, as well as Colombia's Palestinian population, criticized the decision. Colombia happens to be more prominent than other Latin American countries because it currently holds a rotating seat on the UN Security Council--the other is Brazil, which has been very vocal about its support for a Palestinian state.

The Palestinians want nine positive votes for a moral victory (since of course the United States will use its veto power). Erik Voeten at The Monkey Cage analyzes the positions of the 15 members (though Colombia should not be listed as "in play").  I can't help but think back to 2003, when rotating members Chile and Mexico felt pressure from the U.S. to support use of force in Iraq. Both ultimately voted no.


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