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.