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Venezuela Closer to Seat At U.N. Security Council

The late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez called former President George W. Bush "the devil" at a United Nations podium, but his daughter and U.N. ambassador Maria Gabriela Chavez might soon be sitting next to an American diplomat at the United Nations Security Council.

At a closed door meeting in July regional leaders unanimously endorsed Venezuela's bid to represent Latin America on the Security Council as one of 10 non-permanent members. The final vote would come in October at the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

Chavez had attempted to secure a seat in 2006 but the U.S. vigorously lobbied against it. In the region, some have criticized Venezuela's human rights stances during recent protests, but in other sectors there is more support for Venezuelan criticism of the U.S. and others have benefited from the country's oil wealth.

Diego Arria, who was Venezuela's ambassador in 1992-93, said he fears grandstanding by Venezuela's socialist government at the U.N. could cause problems. Venezuela would not have veto power over U.N. Security Council resolutions, but there could still be clashes over Venezuela's relationship with Russia and Iran.

--The Associated Press