October 24, 2006

Vitriol never pays off

It is always (good) news when Hugo Chavez suffers a publicly humiliating setback. He has been making a strong bid towards getting a temporary seat on the Security Council that isn't likely to pan out (Guatemala is likely to get the seat). This after building it up oh so much:

It was billed by Venezuela's foreign ministry as perhaps “the most important action in the history of [the country's] foreign policy”. There could be no doubt, officials from Hugo Chávez down had confidently proclaimed, that the United Nations General Assembly would choose Venezuela rather than Guatemala to fill one of Latin America's two rotating seats on the 15-member Security Council. Mr Chávez planned to use the seat to denounce the doings of the United States, which has backed Guatemala.
The LA Times today reports that Chavez's brand of vitriolic rhetoric (he clearly comes from the Ahmenidjad school of rhetoric, or maybe it is the other way around) is likely to reason for Guatemala getting the seat instead of Chavez:
Calling President Bush "the devil" still rallies faithful Chavistas in Venezuela, where Chavez leads in the polls six weeks ahead of elections. But critics say his superheated rhetoric is turning away some potential supporters elsewhere."Taking these kinds of broadsides against the U.S. hasn't really worked for him politically abroad," said Daniel Erikson of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank. "A lot of governments indicated they would vote for him in the U.N., and then when it came to the secret ballot, they didn't."...Ghana's U.N. ambassador, Nana Effah-Apenteng, said many diplomats feel Chavez went too far in his speech to the General Assembly last month, when he said the podium reeked of sulfur after Bush spoke."Even if you want to bash another head of state, this isn't proper decorum," Effah-Apenteng said. "That's the problem."Some analysts, however, said Chavez's influence with a solid bloc in the United Nations despite counter-lobbying by Washington shows his political savvy.