Yessirree Bob…that’s John Bolton.
And this is why I posted that unflattering, but undoubtedly true, picture of him:
After two days and 22 rounds of voting, Guatemala remains ahead of Venezuela in the contest for a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. However, 124 votes are required to win the seat and Guatemala has only averaged 108, Venezuela trailing with an average of only 76. Tired of the marathon voting sessions, delegates decided to suspend voting until Thursday.
With neither country prepared to back down the voting looks set to continue. It could go on for days until either one of them achieves 125 votes or they both accept there is an irresolvable stalemate. In that scenario a compromise candidate would be agreed between all of Latin America’s countries.
The irritation is starting to show at the UN. The Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Nations Francisco Arias Cárdenas today continued to blame United States’ "blackmail" tactics for Venezuela’s inability to take the lead in the contest for the UN Security Council seat.
But he also implicitly pointed the finger at Guatemala. Holding up the front page of El País, the Spanish daily, which showed US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, whispering into the ear of his Guatemalan counterpart, Gert Rosenthal, Arias Cárdenas said, This is the pressure we are fighting, why doesn’t Bolton come to this microphone and declare that the United States will remove the pressure, will withdraw the money and then countries will have the liberty to vote their conscience".
And in case you need reminding of why Guatemala can’t be allowed this seat, I cordially submit:
By supporting Guatemala to be on the U.N.’s most powerful body, the international community will be abandoning many of the human rights principles the institution was created to uphold, say Guatemalan activists and their allies in the United States and other countries.
“Having failed to solve its own peace and security problems,” they said in a letter to the General Assembly, “our country has very little to contribute to solving problems related to international peace and security.”
The letter, drafted by the Guatemalan NGO Association for the Study and Promotion of Security and Democracy and the U.S.-based Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala and signed by nearly 90 other organisations, accuses the Guatemalan government of lacking respect for the rule of law and highlights its continued inability to protect human rights defenders.
A second letter, organised by the Guatemalan Peace and Development Network and signed by over 30 groups and 230 notable individuals from 25 countries, said that the “State of Guatemala has allowed, and occasionally has contributed to, the deterioration of the situation of human rights and the proliferation of violence, again making these issues a matter of profound concern for the international community.”
And from the same article, a reminder of just why the US has decided to throw its weight behind such an obvious loser:
The U.S. is supporting Guatemala’s candidacy because it does not want to see Venezuela, the other candidate, on the Council. The socialist-leaning government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a staunch critic of Washington’s role in international politics.
With a General Assembly vote scheduled for next Monday, observers say the U.S. is stepping up pressure on many countries in the region that may support Venezuela.
For example, the U.S. has agreed to sell F16 fighter jets to Chile, but, according to the Los Angeles Times, warns that Chilean pilots “will not be trained to fly them if the government supports Venezuela’s bid”.
Observers say that under increasing pressure from Washington, many Central American governments are expected to vote for Guatemala. However, the U.S. strategy of “carrots and sticks” has failed to produce similar results in the Caribbean region.
Last July at its summit, the 15-member Caribbean Community, whose region controls 14 votes in the General Assembly, publicly announced that it would opt for Venezuela as the non-permanent member of the Security Council.
In South America, both Brazil and Argentina have also expressed full support for Venezuela, whose leaders have said and time and again that, if elected, they would represent the voices of the global south.
I have a strong sense that Chile, which has abstained in the balloting, would have voted its conscience–that is to say, for Venezuela–had Auntie Condi not talked jive-turkey nonsense to the Chilean ambassador. This whole “would not understand” thing is the most unsubtle arm-twisting. So’s the F-16 gambit, which they also tried on Venezuela. Chavecito’s response? Learning how to say “fuck you” in Russian, and replacing the aging jets with Sukhois instead.
How lucky for the State Dept. that Chile’s economy is considerably weaker than Venezuela’s right now, and that they don’t have gobs of oil money to put into some Russian language lessons of their own. Not to mention, of course, that hideous coalition that gives the right far more influence than it deserves. The same that’s maintaining the dead hand of Pinochet-era laws right now, no less. (Hmmm, I bet that’s also why the Chilean economy has never quite recovered to where it was under Allende, before Tricky Dick and Henry Kissinger insisted that it be made to “scream”. Will some “libertarian” apologist for fascism kindly explain to me how a repressive state can abruptly turn liberal, but only towards abusive big corporations–and how that is supposed to be good for the economy?)
Now, take what happened with Chile, and multiply it by whatever the number of votes is that Guatemala got. And realize that this groundswell of phony “support” has been building for several years already. Nice to know that old dirty wars die so hard…isn’t it?