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In today’s WSJ (subscription) Chavez’s U.N. Gambit
The world’s club of dictators is backing Chávez’s bid for a Security Council seat
To understand why so many Americans dislike the U.N., consider that Venezuela, of all countries, stands a chance today of being elected by a vote of the General Assembly to one of the 10 non-permanent seats on the 15-member Security Council.
Jackson Diehl of the WaPo’s asking Chavez’s U.N. Moment: Why Do Latin Democrats Support Him? and of course he blames Bush:
In other words, as Chile’s president sees it, it’s better to support a budding autocrat who promises to defend Iran’s nuclear program on the Security Council, and may threaten her own country’s security, than to be seen as close to Chile’s largest trading partner and strategic arms supplier at a time when it is trying to use the Security Council to stop Iran (and North Korea) from acquiring nuclear weapons.
This certainly says something about Chile, and neighbors Brazil and Argentina, which are also supporting Chavez: that they value Venezuela’s investment in their economies more than preventing nuclear proliferation (Chavez is buying debt from Argentina and aircraft from Brazil); that solidarity with a neighbor matters more than solidarity with other democracies (probably the only votes for Venezuela in the free world will come from Latin America and the Caribbean); that their governments prefer a weaker United States to a chastened Hugo Chávez.
Diehl is placing too much weight on Bachelet, and totally disregards decades’ worth of the history of US-Latin American relations. As of now, Chile to abstain from vote on Venezuela’s UN Security Council seat
Chile will not support Venezuela in a tightly contested election for a seat on the prestigious United Nations Security Council on Monday in New York. After months of wavering and tense internal political debates, President Michelle Bachelet announced on Sunday that Chile will abstain from Monday’s UN vote.
More to the point, Diehl ignores a number of much more significant items, for instance, that Chavez has China’s support (about which I have posted in the past), and that Hugo has spent – or signed contracts agreeing to spend – just in the past 6 months close to four billion dollars, and gone on a public relations blitz in his campaign towards obtaining the seat in the Security Council. He embarked, as the BBC said, in a whistle-stop world tour.
Additionally, Hugo’s plans for a Bolivarian revolution haven’t gone as smoothly as he wanted. The candidates he backed in Peru and Colombia lost, and just yesterday his candidate in Ecuador faces a run-off election.
According to the Beeb, UN officials say there has not been an election like it since Cuba ran against Colombia in 1979 during the Cold War years. How did that go?
The winning country must get two-thirds of the votes cast in a secret ballot. Cuba-against-Colombia took three months of voting to resolve.
Mexico eventually won as the compromise candidate.
I’ll be updating this post later today. Don’t miss the Venezuela Today round-up.
You can watch the UN Webcast at 10AM this morning.
Update, 12:58PM Third vote starts, meeting adjurned for 10 minutes.
The first and second vote results were:
First Round 124 votes required:
Second Round 126 votes required:
Third vote result: need 124
They adjurned until 3PM
Update, 6:35PM By a tenth-round, late-afternoon vote, Venezuela was losing by 77 to 110 votes after pulling even with Guatemala in earlier rounds. Further voting was postponed until Tuesday morning. Publius Pundit has commentary.
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