In a significant reaffirmation of America’s influence (and that of its friends) Guatemala has an overwhelming lead over Venezuela after four rounds of secret-balloting in the General Assembly. According to the New York Times:
Guatemala, whose candidacy had been backed by the United States, received 109 votes in the first round, then 114, 116 and finally 110. Venezuela’s chances appeared to fade as the voting proceeded and then jumped at the end — it received 76 votes, 74, 70 and then 75.
Guatemala is thus little over a dozen votes short of the 128 it needs to secure the required 2/3 super-majority in the General Assembly. According to this morning’s Wall Street Journal:
The world’s democracies in North and Central America, Europe and Asia are lining up behind Guatemala. In Latin America, Colombia and Mexico are also backing Guatemala, while Argentina and Brazil are supporting Venezuela, perhaps out of misguided leftist solidarity. The left-of-center government in Chile is on the fence, no doubt alarmed by Mr. Chávez but also fearful of crossing him.
Now it’s basically over for Venezuela, because its marginal support will start going over to Guatemala just to get it over with. This will be good news even in Venezuela. As far as the opposition is concerned, whatever is bad for Chavez must be good for Venezuela. And this is particularly bad for Chavez because of the widespread perception that he brought it upon himself with his ridiculous antics — after having made tens of millions of dollars’ worth of oil-promises trying to buy votes all over the world.
The General Assembly is voting again now. More to come…