Venezuela Caving?

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Venezuela is signaling that it may consider the Dominican Republic as an alternative candidate for the UN Security Council seat that (T)Hugo Chavez could not succeed in buying. I am not conversant enough in Latin American relations to know whether that one will fly or not, It does look like they have given up in trying to force Chavez's puppet of Bolivia into the seat.

Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel's conciliatory remarks came as Guatemala said it would also consider backing a third country as diplomats seek a solution to the impasse that has failed to produce a winner after 41 rounds of voting.

Rangel said that while Venezuela has offered close ally Bolivia as an alternative, it also is open to others.

"The name of the Dominican Republic" has emerged as an alternative, Rangel said, adding that it is "a friendly country that has constantly expressed friendship with Venezuela."

The Dominican Republic enjoys solid relations with both Caracas and Washington — which Chavez has accused of using coercive measures to block Venezuela from winning Latin America's open council seat.

The Security Council is made up of 15 members. Five are permanent — Russia, France, Britain, China and the U.S. — while ten regional members rotate through two-year terms.

In Guatemala, Foreign Minister Gert Rosenthal said he was to meet with President Oscar Berger Monday to discuss the possibility of offering an alternative candidate.

"A third candidate is a possibility that we have resisted considering until today," Rosenthal told The Associated Press, without elaborating on which country Guatemala might back as an alternative.

Whoever it is in the end, it will not be Chavez. But it should be as close to a neutral as is possible to make this work. Chavez is the sticking point here, since he obviously wants whoever sits in the seat to be a tool for him. Since that is unlikely to get enough votes, he will need to reach neutral ground for a solution to happen.

Regardless, Chavez lost, and he lost big.

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