King of Spain tells Hugo Chavez to 'shut up' during summit

Monday, November 12, 2007

Juan Carlos I of Spain.

During a summit of the Latin American nations in Chile on Saturday, November 10, the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, told the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez to "shut up." The remarks quickly put an end to the meeting.

"Why don't you shut up?" said King Juan Carlos I, interrupting a speech by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain who was condemning words by Chávez who called the country's former prime minister, José María Aznar, a "fascist." The King was waving a finger at Chávez.

"I want to express to you President Hugo Chávez that in a forum where there are democratic governments ... one of the essential principles is respect. You can disagree radically, without being disrespectful," said Zapatero before the King told Chávez to shut up.

Chávez quickly issued a statement on Sunday saying "Mr. King, did you know about the coup d'etat against Venezuela, against the democratic, legitimate government of Venezuela in 2002? It's very hard to imagine the Spanish ambassador would have been at the presidential palace supporting the coup plotters without authorization from his majesty."

Chávez believes and has publicly accused the United States of trying to take him out of power in a coup back in 2002. When protests broke out on April 13 of that year when Chávez was restored to power, Spanish officials met with U.S. officials just hours before.

Despite the harsh use of words between the two nations, Chávez says that he "hopes this will not damage relations" between them, but that also states "we are not going to shut up."