Venezuelan Officials Denounce U.S. Campaign against Venezuela UN Post

Reacting to reports that the U.S. was lobbying against Venezuelan seat on the UN Security Council, Foreign Minister ali Rodriguez predicted that the U.S. would suffer another defeat on this issue.

Caracas, Venezuela, June 22, 2006—Venezuela’s foreign minister reacted sharply yesterday to reports that the U.S. was lobbying against a Venezuelan seat on the UN Security Council, predicting that the U.S. would suffer another bitter defeat.

According to Rodriguez, the situation is very similar to when the U.S. wanted to push for a different Secretary General of the Organization of American states than was being supported by Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. “The United States could not impose its candidate and something similar will occur, with all certainty, in the Security Council of the United Nations.

Venezuela is currently lobbying for one of the 10 rotating Security Council seats, five of which will become available at the end of the year. Countries are generally nominated by their regions and then approved of by the full General Assembly. The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that the U.S. is lobbying other Latin American nations to support its candidate, Guatemala. Unidentified diplomats told the LA Times, though, that many countries would probably support Venezuela in the upcoming vote in October.

AP reports, though, that the U.S. ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, when asked if the U.S. was opposing Venezuela for the Security Council, said, “I think we’re making our position very clear, very persuasively, too.”

statements the U.S. Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon made about how the U.S. is “working multilaterally” to defend democracy in Venezuela. Shannon had made the comments during a hearing of the House Foreign Relations Committee, where he also stated that the U.S. would be willing to help Venezuela to improve its electoral institutions.

Rodriguez, in an interview with the South American satellite TV channel TeleSur, also reacted to Shannon’s allegation that Venezuela was trying to purchase influence in Latin America, via its various oil trade agreements. Rodriguez said that Bush administration officials, “who have a salesperson mentality, think that it is very easy to buy consciences and that it is very easy to sell consciences. This is not an insult to President Chavez, it is an insult for those countries that in their use of their sovereign right to make agreements with Venezuela in order to benefit their countries.”

Rodriguez went on to say Shannon is, “offending the dignity of other leaders of the continent, which shows a total and profound ignorance of distinct realities.”

Maripili Hernandez, Venezuela’s vice-minister for North America, said that the United States, “is worried that a small country like Venezuela can stand up to the empire with dignity and strength,” if it were represented on the Security Council.

Venezuela’s Vice-President José Vicente Rangel also weighed-in on the issue today, saying that Venezuela was not trying to intervene in any country’s decision on who to support for the UN post. “Venezuela is not trying to intervene, in any way, in the decision that any government takes about the representation in the Security Council of the United Nations,” said Rangel.

Referring to the specific case of Chile, which according to several reports has been put under much pressure by the U.S. to support its candidate, Guatemala, Rangel said he believed that in the end Chile would support Venezuela. “The historical ties between Chile and Venezuela are superseded by circumstantial factors,” said Rangel.