Who should "shut up"?

Spain’s King Juan Carlos told Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to ” shut up” as the Ibero-American summit drew to a close in Santiago, Chile.

Chavez should learn to be diplomatic, especially when talking in public about politicians with whom he totally doesn’t see eye to eye. Summit conferences shouldn’t become a theatre where speakers rival to be on spotlight in the media by uttering pejorative terms. In North Africa, the Libyan leader Gaddafi is known for his bizarre behaviour and speeches. When he was in Belgrade in the 80s, he brought with him 10 she-camels to drink their milk. He seems to have matured politically by refraining from such behaviour. Gaddafi once described late American president Roland Reagan as a cowboy to which he replied by describing him as the stray dog of the Middle East.

Saddam in his war of words with the USA and UK sparked disparaging terms. His former minister Tarik Aziz described USA as an elephant followed by UK the rat. Tony Blair once said that Saddam should be put in cage.

In 1991, after Iraq invasion of Kuwait there was an Arab foreign ministers conference. During lunch in this conference there was exchange of nasty words between the delegates as well as the throwing of plates at one another. In another Arab summit, there was footage of Gaddafi angrily addressing Egyptian Husni Mubarak asking him to go to hell. In 2003, there were angry exchanges between the head of the Iraqi delegation and that of the Kuwaiti delegation at the Arab League conference. So history of violent exchanges at summits and conferences isn’t short at least in the Arab world.

Once late Moroccan King Hassan II was asked by a Spanish journalist to give his opinion about the relations between Morocco and Spain. He replied that the Moroccans and the Spanish had the same temperament. They easily get hot under the collar. The same, in my opinion, can be said about the Arabs and people from the Mediterranean region. After all, people in Latin America are originally from this part of the world. It’s no wonder if there are hot exchanges between them. After all the Spanish and the People in Latin America are cousins.

Concerning Chavez’s description of former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar as ‘fascist, he should have respect for the Spanish delegation, including the king. There are other terms to describe him without offending anyone. By saying so, this implies King Juan Carlos was behind his fascist policy and so the whole Spanish regime is fascist, as well. Maybe Chavez wants Spain to return to the rule of Franco regime so he can find a great ally in southern Europe to counterattack the improving relations between France and the USA.

Chavez considered his statement as a part of free speech. But considering his closure of TV station RCTV channel just contradicts his statements. He said he wouldn’t be silenced but he he’s free to silence his opponents. It’s better to use diplomatic terms for political effect. Using words just to attract the attention of the media and to get ordinary people talk isn’t the best way to do politics. In democratic societies such remarks are left to free media which is allowed to poke fun at anyone or make them look the ugliest. Heads of states should be above using terms which self-respecting and shrewd politicians refrain from using face to face with their opponents.


  1. Hisham said,

    November 14, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong. This is the same king that visited the two remaining symbols of western imperialism on Moroccan soil last week. This is the descendent of the same royal line of Spain who know is going nuts because a latin american (whom I’m sure he’s considering a subject of hes) leader, democratically and overwhelmingly elected by his own people is now daring raising his voice in the presence of his majesty… give me a break!

    Chavez is not fascist…

  2. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    November 14, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Hi Hisham,
    I agree with you that Spain is still a thorn in the side of Morocco despite the economic, political and cultural ties because of using Ceuta, Mellila and the Moroccan Sahara to blackmail Morocco. I had this in mind. That’s why I added “Ceuta and Mellila are Moroccan” at the bottom of the picture above.

    I also put the question at the bottom of Shavez’s picture, “Who’s fascist, Chavez or Aznar?”

    I agree with you Chavez is the new voice of the new revolutionary politicians in Latin America. It remains how much political support he can draw in the region to give this part of the world a new political look.

  3. Hisham said,

    November 14, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Delighted by your reply Abdelilah!
    I also hope, from the bottom of my heart, that Chavez will suceed.

    By the way, Abdelilah, have you seen (I assume you did) the John Pilger’s latest film, “The War on Democracy.” If not you can watch it on my blog (yes I know, I’m self promoting again) by following this link:


    Take care!

  4. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    November 14, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Thanks Hisham for the tip. I will watch that film.

    BTW, it’s good to disagree with you from time to time. At least through me “you have the scent of homecountry” or as we say in ” كتشم ريحة البلاد”

    I hope you aren’t painfully homesick or to put it in French, J’espère qu’en France tu n’es pas trop dépaysé.

  5. Hisham said,

    November 14, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Non pas trop… but I’m as much homesick as you can ever find especially when the sky turns dark.

    By the way Abdelilah, remember when we had a chatter about Socialism and Ideology. I thought these videos might be interesting:



    Things are moving, aren’t they?

  6. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    November 14, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    Surely Hisham, I will watch them.

    Only one remark, you update your blog not too often. I don’t think you’re short of ideas. Just click at the keyboard and ideas will come out, the way I do!

  7. Eileen said,

    November 22, 2007 at 9:00 am

    When I went to Gibraltar, I found the people there universally against becoming part of Spain. They are all British, and want to remain that way. Same with the Falkland Islands (which Argentina wants). It’s my understanding (from what I have heard, but never having been there) that Ceuta and Mellia are filled with people who feel Spanish, and want to remain that way. Why not just leave them alone? In ALL of the above cases, why can’t the people just be left alone? What is all this fighting about? Why does anyone even CARE?

    If you can explain this to me, I’d kindly appreciate anything you have to say.

    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas (in the Middle East)

  8. September 10, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    […] from heads of states to low key politicians are known for using rude language towards one another. The famous case was the exchange between Hugo Shavez, Venezuela president and Spanish king, Juan Carlos who asked […]

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