The scale of Venezuela’s looming bankruptcy is…staggering.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has informed the General Assembly that 15 countries including oil producer Venezuela are in arrears in paying their annual contribution to the U.N. regular budget, which means they can’t vote in the 193-member world body unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Ban’s letter dated Monday and circulated Friday also included Iran, another major oil producer, which was under U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program until last Saturday, when they were lifted. But Assembly spokesman Daniel Thomas said Friday that Iran “just paid,” so it can now vote.
The loss of voting rights in the General Assembly is perhaps most embarrassing for Venezuela, which is currently a member of the Security Council and will hold its rotating presidency next month. Being in arrears does not affect its voting right in the council, but being on the list can be seen as a loss of status at the U.N.
It’s a real crisis. Maria Gabriela might actually need to take a break from shopping on Madison Avenue to deal with this one.
More and more, Venezuela-watching becomes an exercise in rubber-necking.