Venezeula Not Getting The Votes

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In the fourth round of voting, Guatemala still leads Venezuela 110 to 75 despite the switching of six votes. It seems increasingly likely that a compromise candidate will take the open UNSC seat.

Guatemala, supported by the United States, received 110 votes, down from 116 in the third round, while Venezuela got 75 votes, up from 70 in the third round. Six nations abstained.

But Guatemala did not get the two-thirds majority needed for victory in the 192-nation body.

Further rounds of balloting are necessary during which a new compromise candidate could emerge.

However, Brazil's U.N. ambassador, Ronaldo Sardenberg, said it was still premature to think of a substitute candidate until the trend became clearer.

Venezuela's U.N. ambassador, Francisco Javier Arias Cardenas, said the United States had tried to turn the vote into a contest between his government and Washington, and said votes cast for his government had been "votes of conscience" in favor of the developing world.

"We are not competing with a brother country. We are competing with the biggest power on the planet," he told reporters, adding that Venezuela would not withdraw from the race.

But U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said, "I think it is very clear there's a candidate with a strong predominant vote." However, he expected more rounds. "This has just begun."

Sometimes bribery gets you nowhere. So it would seem with (T)Hugo Chavez. The lopsided vote tally shows that a lot of people he thought he had bribed cheerfully took his money then double crossed him. One very interesting comment from one ambassador:

Lichtenstein's U.N. ambassador, Christian Wenaweser, told reporters, "It's going to be very hard to turn that (vote) around."

He and several other ambassadors said that President Hugo Chavez's September speech to the U.N. General Assembly did not win him friends. Chavez called President George W. Bush a "devil" and said the American leader had left the smell of sulfur hanging in the chamber.

"Many people felt it was bad taste," said Tanzanian Ambassador Augustine Mahiga. But he said Guatemala might have won the seat outright had the United States not lobbied so hard on its behalf.

So the "devil" speech is being seen as a big mistake, but some are also seeing the US lobbying effort as one. Interesting.

UPDATE: After the sixth round, both nations have 93 votes with one vote cast for Mexico.

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