After 22 Rounds, Venezuela and Guatemala Continue Battle for UNSC Seat

After two days and 22 rounds of voting, Guatemala remains ahead of Venezuela in the contest for a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

By Steven Mather - Venezuelanalysis.com
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Caracas , October 17, 2006 (Venezuelanalysis.com)— After two days and 22 rounds of voting, Guatemala remains ahead of Venezuela in the contest for a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. However, 124 votes are required to win the seat and Guatemala has only averaged 108, Venezuela trailing with an average of only 76. Tired of the marathon voting sessions, delegates decided to suspend voting until Thursday.

With neither country prepared to back down the voting looks set to continue. It could go on for days until either one of them achieves 125 votes or they both accept there is an irresolvable stalemate. In that scenario a compromise candidate would be agreed between all of Latin America’s countries.

The irritation is starting to show at the UN. The Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Nations Francisco Arias Cárdenas today continued to blame United States’ “blackmail” tactics for Venezuela’s inability to take the lead in the contest for the UN Security Council seat.

But he also implicitly pointed the finger at Guatemala. Holding up the front page of El País, the Spanish daily, which showed US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, whispering into the ear of his Guatemalan counterpart, Gert Rosenthal, Arias Cárdenas said, This is the pressure we are fighting, why doesn’t Bolton come to this microphone and declare that the United States will remove the pressure, will withdraw the money and then countries will have the liberty to vote their conscience”.

Bolton denied this saying the US had behaved in a “low-key” manner. Rosenthal was more openly annoyed by the Venezuelan ambassador’s comments. He said, “It is very unfair to us. Washington did not run our campaign, we did all the work, and we have a majority of the votes.”

But the majority of the votes is not enough so it is all set to continue. The longest ever battle between two countries was in 1979. Then it was also for the Latin American seat and Cuba and Colombia fought for two months and 155 rounds of voting. In the end, Mexico was elected as the compromise candidate.

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