Venezuela secures seat on U.N. Security Council; fireworks likely to ensue

Venezuela, New Zealand, Angola and Malaysia have been elected to fill four of the five coveted temporary seats on the United Nations Security Council, but the final seat has yet to be determined.

Neither Turkey nor Spain got enough votes in the first ballot of Thursday's election by the U.N. General Assembly's member states to earn a spot in the U.N.'s most powerful body.

Special attention has been on Turkey as it is under mounting pressure to do more about the ongoing conflicts in Syria thatare pushing up against its border.

Venezuela's socialist government was unopposed for the single seat allocated to Latin America and the Caribbean. Angola was the only candidate for the African seat, and Malaysia had no opposition for an Asian seat.

The winners will join the council on Jan. 1 and serve through 2016.

While there have been concerns voiced by the U.S. about Venezuela joining the Security Council, many experts say that the country joining the group is a much different affair than when former leader Hugo Chávez pushed for a spot back in 2006.

The government of President Nicolás Maduro is seen to be in much more dire straits than Chávez was in 2006 and it is generally accepted that Venezuela won’t pose a major threat to U.S. interests on the Council.

The question still in the air is how much of an effect the Latin American country will have as the Council addresses touchy geopolitical issues such as Russian expansionism into the Ukraine and the U.S.’s efforts against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria.

Venezuela has close political and business ties to permanent security members Russia and China. Given the widening geopolitical divide between the U.S. and Russia, Venezuela’s inclusion on the Security Council could prove a boon to the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It will play into the hands of the Russians as the Venezuelans will take orders directly from the Russians,” Jason Marczak, the deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center told Fox News Latino recently.

Russia and the U.S. have been at odds on a number of issues on the world stage recently, especially Russian troops entering the Ukraine, the civil war in Syria and hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas.

Venezuela staunchly backed Russia in its move into the Crimea, and Maduro openly praised Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during his speech before the U.N. General Assembly for helping stave off Islamic State militants.

Experts, however, argue that despite the balance of power shifting over to Russia with the inclusion of Venezuela in the Security Council, the socialist nation won’t cause any major changes in the way the council votes. Venezuela's presence may make Security Council meetings livelier, and tenser, but given the U.S.’s veto power, its inclusion can only really be a thorn in the American side.

“There will be some unpleasantness and discomfort for the U.S. and its allies,” Eric Olson, the associate director of the Latin American program at the Woodrow Wilson Center told FNL. “But Venezuela’s ability to roadblock anything is pretty limited … they’re more of an annoyance than anything else.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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