Sun, Nov 18, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Venezuela's Chavez demands apology from King of Spain

AP , CARACAS

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez demanded on Friday the king of Spain apologize for telling him to "shut up" during a spat at a recent summit that has caused friction between the two governments.

"The king of Spain, he has to offer some type of apology because he attacked me," Chavez said in an interview on state television. "I'm not going to ask him to get down on his knees, but that in some way he recognize that he went too far, that he did something inappropriate."

`FASCIST'

The verbal clash occurred at a summit in Chile last weekend when Chavez accused former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar of backing a coup that briefly ousted him in 2002. Chavez repeatedly called Aznar a "fascist."

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero asked Chavez to be more diplomatic and show respect for leaders of other countries.

As Chavez repeatedly tried to interrupt, King Juan Carlos leaned forward and said: "Why don't you shut up?"

REPERCUSSIONS?

"I don't want this to keep growing more serious, but the king or the Spanish government should in some way recognize that they were the ones at fault and that they attacked us. We aren't the aggressors," Chavez said.

Chavez also said that during the 2002 coup, the Spanish ambassador joined the US ambassador in recognizing the interim leader who briefly became president, before military loyalists returned Chavez to power amid street protests.

"Could it be that the king knew about the coup also and gave the green light?" Chavez said, suggesting the ambassador at the time must have had the king's blessing.

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