Diplomatic Jousting Over Venezuela’s Bid for UN Security Council Seat Heats Up – by Stephen Lendman

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is stepping up a late US diplomatic high-pressure blitz to convince nations she’s meeting and speaking with not to support Venezuela’s bid for the UN Security Council seat for a two year term beginning in 2007 at the secret vote that will take place for it on October 16. On Monday, September 25, she met with CARICOM foreign ministers in New York painfully twisting every arm present. No other nation plays hardball politics like the US that no longer “walks softly” but carries a bigger “stick” than ever and freely uses it. So far, from known reports, CARICOM is holding firm and most nations in it have announced their support for the Chavez-led government. It remains to be seen if that conviction will hold in the face of relentless US pressure.

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Madura affirmed the support he believes his nation has for this high profile seat that will give Venezuela a significant voice in the world body. The US desperately doesn’t want it to have it because with it, Venezuela will be able to speak out forthrightly supporting the rights of ordinary people everywhere and denouncing the Bush administration’s oppressive policies against them. If Venezuela is elected, that’s bad news when you’re in the “empire-building” business, throwing your weight around everywhere, and wanting to silence all dissent. It’s what Secretary Rice meant when she said Venezuela’s election in October “would mean the end of consensus on the Security Council.” She’s right. At least one of its members would serve honorably, and that’s what she fears.

Minister Madura said US lobbying efforts against Venezuela’s bid have “gone very badly so far and stressed his country would oppose the Bush administration’s “imperialist vision” if elected to the Council in October. He also took issue with Secretary Rice’s suggestion that Venezuela’s anti-US stance would make the 15 member Security Council unworkable. Minister Madura showed character and the noble spirit of the Bolivarian Revolution he represents when he added: “Facing the empire, we are saying, yes, we are going to build a new consensus, not of war, not of abuse. We are going to build the consensus of the peoples of the South.”

Standing against Venezuela is Guatemala that the US supports despite its decades-long history of oppression and brutality against its majority indigenous people (still ongoing) that killed over 200,000 of them over the past half century. US administrations supported Guatemala throughout that period and approved of or winked at all the crimes that country’s leaders committed. It’s clear it now supports a continuation of those practices because it’s committing so many of them around the world today itself. For the Bush administration, plunder and oppression are good. Equity and justice for the people that the Venezuelan government supports is bad. It will soon be up to the world community to decide which of these two alternative visions it supports.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blogspot at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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