Sept. 14, 2006 -- President George W. Bush is scheduled to speak before the UN General Assembly next week. It will not be a happy occasion for Bush. He will be looking out on an assembly that will be poised to deliver the United States and Mr. Bush a humiliating defeat. The United States is losing in its effort to have Guatemala take over the Latin American seat on the UN Security Council. Venezuela is now favored to win the seat over the objections of US ambassador John Bolton, whose permanent nomination to be ambassador has been killed by the Senate for the current session, and the efforts of Guatemala's Foreign Minister and close Bush administration ally, Gert Rosenthal. Guatemala has among the worst human rights records in Latin America and its government is rife with evangelical fundamentalist Christians and Opus Dei Catholics. Its security services possess the latest in population surveillance technology thanks to Israeli companies like Tadiran.
Venezuela is piling up votes for the Security Council seat and the Bush administration has been powerless to stop President Hugo Chavez's and Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro's diplomatic juggernaut. In fact, Bolton's temperament at the UN has ensured that Venezuela's election to the Security Council is a "slam dunk." If Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and other U.S. Latin American allies are not able to reach a consensus among themselves by October 16 on whether Venezuela or Guatemala gets the seat, the vote will be decided by a two-thirds vote of the 192-member General Assembly, where Venezuela now has a lead. Not only has Venezuela lined up the votes of China and Russia, but as a result of the recent Non-Aligned Meeting in Havana, it can count on the support of a number of nations in the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East. Already, countries like Argentina, Brazil, Guyana, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Dominica, Cuba, Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, Malaysia, Iran, Belarus, Ghana, Mali, Zimbabwe, Syria, and Papua New Guinea have publicly announced their support for Venezuela, while positive pro-Caracas statements have come from Chile, Angola, Myanmar, Vietnam, Qatar, Benin, and India.
UN Security Council: Waiting for Chavez. Bush set to be dealt embarrassing diplomatic bitch slap in vote for Venezuela to be on Security Council.
Meanwhile, the Bush State Department (the main anti-Venezuela point man is Eric Watnik), Paul Wolfowitz's World Bank, and the new breed of intrusive and bellicose U.S. ambassadors have been strong-arming various countries to support Guatemala over Venezuela -- even by threatening to withhold much-needed economic aid. Haiti and the Dominican Republic are two countries that have been warned by Washington not to vote for Venezuela "or else."
Guatemala can count on the votes of Bush administration allies, who are also supporting U.S. military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. They include Canada, Japan, Australia, Israel, Denmark, Poland, Albania, and the United Kingdom. But with the world increasingly seeing a vote for Venezuela as a slap at Bush, Venezuela will continue to gain supporters.