How Hugo Chavez Lost the Latin American Seat on the UN Security Council
Byline: Beth Day Romulo
A YEAR ago I went into the UN General Assembly early to hear President Arroyo speak and didn't know the man who was speaking. I looked up on the list. It was Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, all bombast and fury, and viciously anti-US. Anti-US is not unusual among developing countries but normally criticism is delivered with more civility. This was a thumb-your-nose style, out of place in the dignity of the UN Assembly. This year he did it again - going over the stop in a critique of the US President, calling him the "Devil" and saying he could still "smell the sulphur" at the podium. Some delegates giggled - but most seemed to agree it was out of place. What puzzled me was why Chavez would be so confrontational when he was lobbying hard to get Latin America's seat in the UN Security Council. The SC has five permanent members and 10 non-permanent rotating members from other regions, for a two-year term, who are voted upon by the Assembly. When the Philippines won the Asian seat two years ago it was fortunate that the Security Council presidency, which is also rotating, gave them two shots at it during their two-year term, which allowed Pres. Arroyo to chair the SC summit last year.
The reason for Chavez's behavior appears to be that he counted on enough anti-American sentiment among poor and developing nations, to win him the prize. …