Venezuela Abandons Bid for U.N. Seat, Proposing Bolivia

Venezuela is proposing Bolivia an alternative candidate for the U.N. Security Council after being unable to muster enough votes to defeat U.S.-backed Guatemala, top Venezuelan diplomats said Wednesday.

Ambassador Francisco Arias Cardenas told the Venezuelan radio network FFF that Guatemala has suggested Costa Rica as an alternative candidate.

"The proposal is that we're going to look for an agreement, we're going to look for a way out," Arias Cardenas said in the radio interview. "We propose Bolivia as an alternative for consensus."

Venezuela, meanwhile, was maintaining its candidacy ahead of a 36th round of voting scheduled to be held at the United Nations on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro told state television. Various countries in the region have expressed hope of finding an alternative candidate. Bolivian President Evo Morales is among President Hugo Chavez's closest allies.

"It seems to us that Bolivia meets the conditions" to be a fitting candidate, Maduro said. "The name of Bolivia is on the table."

Venezuela trailed Guatemala in 34 of the 35 votes at the United Nations so far, and tied the Central American country in one round last week.

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