Royal Reprimand

Por Venezuela Real - 12 de Noviembre, 2007, 18:39, Categoría: Prensa Internacional

Wall Street
November 12, 2007

Spain's King Juan Carlos is revered for his decisive role in restoring democracy in his country after the death of General Francisco Franco. Over the past quarter century, the Spanish royal has been a voice for civility and reconciliation, both in his home country and throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
So it was a rebuke heard 'round the world this weekend when he told Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, "why don't you shut up," at the Ibero-American summit in Santiago, Chile. Mr. Chávez had gone on a rant against former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar, calling him a "fascist" and stating that "fascists are not human. A snake is more human."

Venezuelans have endured this sort of rhetoric for nine years from their strongman president, and Mr. Chavez has shown the same bullying style without rebuke at the United Nations. But the summiteers apparently had enough. Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero -- who has enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Venezuelan government and is no ally of Mr. Aznar -- demanded that Mr. Chávez respect the participants at the table. He reminded the Venezuelan that Mr. Aznar had been elected by the Spanish people. As he later told journalists, Mr. Chávez's words were "inappropriate and unacceptable."

Mr. Chávez would have none of it and, although his microphone was turned off, tried to talk over the Spanish head of state. That's when King Juan Carlos leaned forward, looked directly at Mr. Chávez, and told him to close down his act. Mr. Zapatero finished his dress down of Mr. Chávez and the room erupted in applause. The king rose and walked out shortly thereafter, having made his point in defense of civil discourse.

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