Venezuela, A Diplomatic Rival For U.S., Wins Seat On U.N. Security Council

October 16, 2014

Venezuela, a long-time diplomatic thorn on the side of the United States, has won a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that unlike the last time Venezuela vied for a spot, this time the country was able to get enough votes easily.

The Monitor adds:

“Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of senators wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to ‘lead a diplomatic effort at the United Nations to deny Venezuela’ a Council seat. They noted that Venezuela supported Russia over its annexation of Crimea and joined other authoritarian regimes seeking to shield Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from UN reprobation for his attacks on his own civilian population. Allowing Venezuela a Council seat, the senators said, would be a step backward ‘at a time when we must collaborate to address the world’s most pressing challenges.’

“Republican critics also note that the Bush administration was successful in keeping Venezuela off the Council the last time it tried for a seat, in 2006. John Bolton, the US ambassador to the UN at the time, vigorously lobbied members of the UN General Assembly (where voting takes place) and denied Venezuela the minimum votes it needed.”

In a statement, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, took umbrage at the fact that Latin American countries allowed Venezuela to run unopposed for the 2015-2016 seat.

“Unfortunately, Venezuela’s conduct at the UN has run counter to the spirit of the UN Charter and its violations of human rights at home are at odds with the Charter’s letter,” Power said. “The United States will continue to call upon the government of Venezuela to respect the fundamental freedoms and universal human rights of its people.

Voice of America, a news service funded by the U.S. government, reports that, as expected, Venezuela has already started to use its new position to attack the U.S. The news service reports:

“Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez appeared to seize on that right away, saying his country had won its seat despite a “maligned campaign” against his country and would seek to defend developing countries from its seat on the council.

“‘We take up this challenge, determined to continue our fight against the willingness to subject countries to the subjugation, domination, exploitation and foreign occupation and the denial of fundamental human rights,’ said Ramirez.”

Rounding out the five new members of the Security Council were Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand and Spain.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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