SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) – The king of Spain told Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to “shut up” Saturday during a heated exchange at a summit of leaders from Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
Chavez, who called President Bush the “devil” on the floor of the United Nations last year, triggered the exchange by repeatedly referring to former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar as a “fascist.”
Aznar, a conservative who was an ally of Bush as prime minister, “is a fascist,” Chavez said in a speech at the Ibero-American summit in Santiago, Chile. “Fascists are not human. A snake is more human.”
Spain’s current socialist prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, responded during his own allotted time by urging Chavez to be more diplomatic in his words and respect other leaders despite political differences.
“Former President Aznar was democratically elected by the Spanish people and was a legitimate representative of the Spanish people,” he said, eliciting applause from the gathered heads of state.
Chavez repeatedly tried to interrupt, but his microphone was off.
Spanish King Juan Carlos, seated next to Zapatero, angrily turned to Chavez and said, “Why don’t you shut up?”
Here’s video of the exchange:
Here’s the English translation.
Spanish blogger Barcepundit comments:
I’M NOT PRO-MONARCHY in the sense that I don’t believe that any office should be hereditary, including the head of state. But I can’t help but cheer on king Juan Carlos today:
Daniel in Venezuela sums up:
As usual not only Chavez miscalculates (though a few silly lefties will undoubtedly share yet another insult to the powers that be) but demonstrates that he has no clue on how democracy works. Bringing Zapatero to defend Aznar, of whom it is well known that he deeply despises, is quite a feat. Bringing the normally composed figure of the King of Spain who plays a very symbolic but crucial role in the Iberoamerican summit in bringing together ex-colonies and the mother land past centuries of antagonism is another feat. Refusing to listen when Zapatero tries to explain that democracy requires dialogue and participation of both sides simply reflects the petty tyrant that Chavez; in camera, for the whole world to see.
Finally I would like to remind folks that Chavez gets intensely angry when any visitor to Venezuela makes observations on the country management to the point that the new constitution will bring provisions to allow to either muzzle these critics or the peopel who are seen with them in Venezuela. And yet he has no qualm in grossly insulting whomever he wants whenever he wants. In all truth, it only shows he is losing his marbles and that he is losing control of the Venezuelan situation.
Both PM Zapatero and the King of Spain had the guts to do what no one would do at the UN when Chavez repeatedly insulted the President (probably because most of them in attendance agreed with Chavez’s disgraceful remarks): stand up to him. I may disagree with the Socialist Zapatero on everything, and I am not a fan of monarchies, but I say “thanks” to them both for putting this moron in his place, if only for a few minutes.
No word yet on whether or not Chavez’s contingent of Hollywood windbags hopped on a plane and rushed to his defense.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.