Saturday, July 01, 2006
Chavez and Bush
Only a few days earlier, the LA Times had reported how Bush was strong-arming South American countries to not select Venezuela next year to the open seat on the U.N. Security Council.
What a lot of Americans may not realize is that Africa is blessed with a wealth of natural resources, "ranging from precious metals to iron ore and oil." And perhaps Chavez has a point when he says that African nations have been duped to giving their natural resources to the West at bargain basement prices.
Citing the example of Venezuela and Bolivia, [Chavez] urged Africa to seize greater control of its energy resources. He described the low royalty payments made by some foreign oil companies as "robbery."
"We should march together, Africa and Latin America, brother continents with the same roots ... Only together can we change the direction of the world," he told the opening day of the AU summit, to applause.
"The world is threatened by the hegemony of the North American empire," said the former paratrooper, following speeches from African leaders which had criticized colonialism.
Of course, government officials at the top skimmed their fat slice of the small pie, no worst for wear for them, and with America's blessing or blind eye.
In the meantime, the United Nations will have an open seat in the Security Council next year, explicitly established for a Latin American country on a two-year rotating basis. Venezuela is lobbying hard for the spot; and of course, the United States is equally adamant that the slot be awarded to Guatemala, a loyal lapdog.
Hmmm, let's see. The United Nations reserves a spot on their 15-member Security Council for a Latin American country; and the United States is going around threatening folks of dire consequences if they select Venezuela.
Behind the scenes, U.S. officials have been applying pressure, even to close allies, Latin American diplomats say. For example, Washington has agreed to sell F-16 fighter jets to Chile, but are warning that Chilean pilots will not be trained to fly them if the government supports Venezuela's Security Council bid, the diplomats said.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other top State Department officials have been taking part in lobbying efforts.
When Rice met with Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley in Washington in April, she devoted most of the closed session to a discussion of the Security Council issue. Foxley told La Tercera, one of Chile's largest newspapers.
Rice was quoted as telling Foxley that the issue was "singular because it aims at the heart of U.S. interests." The U.S. would not understand a vote for Venezuela, she said, and warned that such a vote would lump Chile with a group of "losers" separated from the U.S., Mexico, part of Central America and most of Europe, the newspaper reported.
Hell, why have a spot at all, if Bush gets to pick who they get to pick?!?
"No one wants to choose between the United States and Venezuela, but that's what it's come down to," said a diplomat from one Western Hemisphere country, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. The Americans "have made it quite clear this is a top priority."But American demands or threats ain't what they used to be; and the Times notes that Caribbean nations as well as Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina are likely to side with Venezuela; in case of a tie, the vote goes to all members.
And...there are a heck of a lot more developing countries who will likely side with Venezuela than rich or toady countries who will side with the United States, especially since Venezuela has framed the issue as a vote for Guatemala is a vote for Uncle Sam, who recent history has shown to be a wayfaring dangerous superpower.
Yep, little ol' Condi and Bushie just might have to make their case for war with Iran before their nemesis, Hugo Chavez, a two-year member of the Security Council with more time left in his seat than they as president and secretary of state.
Of much more interest is the African initiative. President Chavez has already made a series of strides in strengthening ties to Africa and this is the most recent. VZ is now a permanent observer to the African Union. I believe Africa is a case study in what the entire global South has to look forward to if they continue to focus on dawning before the American Empire. Chavez, like China & India, is providing alternate models that has the potential to truly benefit sub-Saharan Africa.
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