In the UN Security Council voting, things are still looking grim for Venezuela. On the sixth round of balloting, Venezuela pulled to its highest vote total of 93 to tie with Guatemala. By the tenth round of voting, (T)Hugo's regime had fallen back to 77, with Guatemala surging back to 110, 15 votes shy of the majority needed to win.
Guatemala led in nine of the 10 ballots, but could not get the two-thirds majority necessary to win. Nonetheless, the results were a defeat for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who had campaigned by railing against the United States and promised to use his nation's voice on the 15-member council to counter Washington's influence.
The other four seats that will come open on the council were filled easily. South Africa, Indonesia, Italy and Belgium will start their terms on the council on Jan. 1, replacing Tanzania, Japan, Denmark and Greece.
Neither Venezuela nor Guatemala appeared willing to drop out of the election, which resumes on Wednesday with another round of balloting. Venezuela's U.N. Ambassador Francisco Arias Cardenas complained the United States has pressured countries worldwide to prevent Venezuela from winning the two-year rotating seat.
"Venezuela will not withdraw — we're fighting until the end," Cardenas said. "We are fighting against the first power of the world, the owners of the universe. We're happy, we're strong and we will continue."
It just does not look good for (T)Hugo's attempt at global bribery. His opposition at home should be able to have a field day with this. Chavez squandered the nation's resources trying to buy a seat on the UNSC, then urinated on the UN with his little speech. Talk about a dumb move.
Look for Chavez to call for Jimmy Carter to supervise the next round of balloting, with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador from Mexico and AlGore as observers.