Caracas, November 12, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)-
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez clashed verbally with King of Spain Juan
Carlos at the Latin American Summit in Chile on Saturday. The Spanish King
told the Venezuelan president to "shut up" after losing his patience
with Chavez' interventions at the Summit,
causing a sharp response from the Venezuelan leader.
The conflict began after Chavez labeled former president of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar, a "fascist"
for his continued criticisms of Chavez and the political process in Venezuela. The
comment offended the Spanish delegation led by current Spanish President José
Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
"You all know that Jose Maria Aznar, I said it
yesterday and I'll repeat it today, that man is a fascist," said the Venezuela President at the closing session of
Chavez accused Aznar of knowing about, and supporting the 2002 coup d'etat in Venezuela that temporarily
overthrew the Chavez government.
President Chavez' statements provoked a response from
Zapatero, who demanded "respect" for all political leaders,
regardless of their ideology.
"You can be against a certain ideological position, and
I am not very close to the ideas of Aznar, but he was elected by the Spanish
people, and I demand respect," said Zapatero to Chavez.
But it was when Chavez attempted to answer Zapatero,
explaining that the ex-president Aznar continues to criticize Venezuela in
public, that King Juan Carlos lost his patience, and said to Chavez "Why
don't you shut up?" while angrily pointing a finger at Chavez.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, Bolivian President Evo
Morales, and Cuban Vice-President Carlos Lage all came to the defense of the Venezuelan
President, while President of Peru Alan Garcia expressed his support for the
Spanish King, as did the government of Chile.
It wasn't until the following day that Chavez responded to
the King's statements, saying that he hadn't heard what he said.
"People have asked me why I didn't respond to him, but
I didn't hear what the King said," said Chavez to journalists outside his
hotel in Chile.
"There was noise. I didn't even see the king, or hear him."
The Venezuelan president stated that he would never shut up,
and accused the Spanish king of also supporting the 2002 coup d'état in Venezuela.
"I'm not going to shup up, and they won't shut me up
because I'm not speaking for myself, I am speaking for millions, the millions
who are the children of Bolivar, the millions who are children of Guaicaipuro and
Manuela (Saenz), Jose Leonardo Chirinos, and all of those who the Spanish
murdered, ambushed, and slaughtered here," he said.
Chavez directed a question directly at the Spanish King,
demanding to know if he was involved in the Venezuelan coup.
"Now the debate has begun Mr. King. Answer this: Did
you know about the coup d'état against Venezuela,
against the democratic, legitimate government of Venezuela in 2002?"
Chavez asked if perhaps the King is angry about his comments
against Aznar because he was also involved in the Venezuelan coup. Chavez explained
that the Spanish government at that time openly supported the coup, and that
the Spanish ambassador to Venezuela,
along with the US
ambassador, both went to the presidential palace in Venezuela to greet the coup
"The Spanish ambassador, with the US ambassador,
went to applaud (the coup) while I was in jail," said Chavez. "It's
very difficult to think that the Spanish ambassador is going to be in the
presidential palace supporting the coup leaders without the authorization of
Although Chavez expressed concern about future relations
between the two countries, and stated that he hopes they will not be affected,
he assured that he would not change his posture.
"We've been here for 500 years and we'll never
shut up, much less at the demands of a monarch," he said. "If I shut
up, the people of Latin America would scream.
They are ready to be free of all colonialism after 500 years."