Saturday, November 17, 2007

Chavez demands apology from Spain's king

AFP - Saturday, November 17

CARACAS (AFP) - - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez demanded Friday that Spain's King Juan Carlos apologize for telling him to "shut up" during a summit in Chile last week.

Chavez said Juan Carlos should "offer some type of apology."

A diplomatic row erupted at the Ibero-American Summit last Saturday when the king told Chavez to "shut up" when the leftist Venezuelan leader called former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar a "fascist."

"The least I'm entitled to as head of state is that the King of Spain -- who is not the king of Latin America -- offer some type of apology for attacking me," Chavez told state-run television VTV.

Chavez claims he neither saw nor heard the king, as he (Chavez) was addressing Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero at the Ibero-American summit.

"If I had heard him ... I would have stared him down like an Indian, because I am an Indian and a little bit black and white," he said.

Zapatero on Thursday said the king was merely defending him when he intervened at the summit -- Chavez interrupted Zapatero's speech several times before the king told him "why don't you just shut up."

The Spanish prime minister said the incident "took on great significance" because television cameras picked it up.

The populist and virulently anti-American Chavez made his comments during the television interview on the eve of a foreign visit that begins on Saturday with the OPEC summit in Riyadh, followed by a trip to Tehran and a visit to Paris for his first meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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