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The voting for the open seat on the UN Security Council appears deadlocked. Latin American nations are trying to arrange a meeting to work out a compromise candidate. Venezuela is balking at that, however, and says it will not give up their candidacy. Where have we heard that before?

Guatemala had 108 votes and Venezuela had 76 in a 14th round of secret balloting on Tuesday with seven nations abstaining and one ballot deemed invalid. The vote was similar to most of the previous rounds held on Monday and Tuesday.

The balloting continues until a nation reaches the required two-thirds vote in 192-nation General Assembly or a compromise candidate emerges.

Latin American nations were trying to convene a meeting later in the day in an effort to break the impasse but Venezuela was resisting a withdrawal of its nomination, diplomats said.

The vote has become a battle for influence between the United States and Venezuela, which under U.S. foe Chavez has tried to form an alliance in Asia, Africa and the Middle East to challenge Washington's interests.

Failure to get onto the U.N. Security Council would represent a set-back for Chavez's ambitions for a bigger international profile.

Chile's Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley told Radio Cooperativa in Santiago that Latin American countries had begun searching for a new candidate, probably from Central America.

"They'd better meet. Otherwise, we'll never get there," Denmark's U.N. Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Loj told Reuters.

"Neither side seems able to break this deadlock." said the Arab League U.N. observer, Yahya Mahmassani. "The way out of this is for the Caribbean and Latin American group to come together and find a solution, with the agreement of both candidates."

Why do I have this vision of a Mexican election style debacle in my head right now? Maybe because I suspect it is the same people involved in backing that mess at work here.

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