Venezuela and Guatemala in Cage Fight! Who Will Get the Security Council Seat?

by Chris Borgen

OK, I guess election battles for Security Council seats don’t amount to no-holds-bar extreme fighting but this one is pretty heated as far UN politicking goes. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has set his sights on this seat. Even though it is a rotating seat on the fifteen-member Council, and thus without a veto, it can still provide added political weight to the Chavez regime. For example, in a highly unusual move, it seems that Chavez has said he would personally attend Security Council meetings (as opposed to simply sending his country’s ambassador) and use it to “give voice to the voiceless.” Read: “try to thwart U.S policy.”

Venezuela is hoping that its recent use of its oil revenues in a spate of foreign aid would increase its chances of winning the seat. (See this analysis by, uh, Aljazeera.)

The U.S. is not enthused about the possibility of Chavez turning the Security Council into his bully pulpit and has backed Guatemala’s candidacy instead. Chavez has responded that it is time to “fix bayonets.” This is beginning to sound less like a cage fight and more like a bad Mel Gibson movie.

Election requires two-thirds of the General Assembly. As I was writing this post, the first round of votes came in with Guatemala receiving 109 votes and Venezuela 76. (Read this analysis by, uh, Fox News.) Previous elections have taken as long as three months to resolve. Stay tuned.


As of 11:00 pm Monday night, there have been 10 rounds of voting. The current tally is Guatemala 110, Venezuela 77 (some states that had not previously voted have started taking part in the balloting). According to the BBC, diplomats may turn to a compromise candidate to break the deadlock.

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