Saturday, November 10, 2007

"Why don't you shut up?"

Hugo Chavez probably never thought that a person would be brave enough to tell him to shut up in his face, because he's used to insult whomever he wants, whenever he wants, and in the ways that he finds more humiliating. No one is allowed to tell him to shut up, not in Venezuela or elsewhere. In fact, Chavez is known to be very intolerant when it comes to be about criticism against him or his rule. He actually managed to change the Venezuelan laws so the mass media couldn't publish any ideas that oppose him. But when Chavez has to criticize other people, he just doesn't know any type of boundaries. Let's analyze some of the most infamous cases of leaders around the world who have been openly insulted by Chavez and have never told him to "shut up".

George W. Bush: The President of the Empire (as the Venezuelan President calls the United States) is Chavez's favorite target. He doesn't waste any opportunity to insult the US President. Chavez has called Bush a donkey, a drunkard, a coward, an assassin, a genocist, a psychologically-ill man, and he has even referred to him as the evil, just to mention some examples. Chavez nicknamed Bush Mr. Danger and insults him live on his radio program Alo Presidente, at the United Nations, or anywhere he has a chance to appear in front of an audience. But Mr. Bush has never replied to any of his insults, he has never told him to "shut up".

Vicente Fox: the former Mexican President became a recipient of Chavez's offenses because he openly defended the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), a project supported mainly by the United States. Chavez then decided to nickname Fox as the Empire's puppy. Fox's government demanded an apology from the Venezuelan regime, but it didn't take them too long to realize that Chavez would never apologize for publicly shaming the Mexican President. The conflict led the Mexican government to expel the Venezuelan ambassador from Mexico, which the Venezuelans countered by expelling the Mexican ambassador from their territory. However, Fox never told Chavez to "shut up".

Felipe Calderon: After Vicente Fox's rule in Mexico, Felipe Calderon, from Fox's party, rose as the President elect (and eventually the President of Mexico) in a tightly disputed election against the leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, allegedly aligned with Chavez. The Venezuelan president knew that Calderon would be willing to cooperate and strengthen ties with the United States, the main commercial partner for Mexico. His suspicions about the further collaboration between Calderon's government and the United States were a perfect excuse for him to launch another of his bad-taste nicknames, so Chavez started calling Calderon little gentleman and big ignorant. Calderon has paid little attention to the Venezuelan President's offenses, thus he has never told him to "shut up".

Alejandro Toledo, Lourdes Flores and Alan Garcia: Another recipient for his insults was former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo. Toledo's "sin" was to show support for a Free Trade Agreement between Peru and the United States. Chavez took advantage of that to say that Toledo resembles Bush a lot, and that his government supported the oligarchy. As Peru was also approaching a Presidential election at that time (which would eventually be lost by Chavez's friend, leftist candidate Ollanta Humala), Chavez also decided to insult the right wing candidates Lourdes Flores and Alan Garcia, calling them Candidates of the right wing and the Oligarchy. Moreover, he later called Garcia a 7-sole thief and an alligator from Toledo's same pond. Toledo replied that "Mr. Chavez was elected to govern Venezuela, not Latin America as a whole", demanding him to stop intruding Peru's internal affairs. But neither Toledo, Garcia or Flores have ever told Chavez to "shut up".

Jose Maria Aznar: A former Spanish President, he was a close ally of the United States during his rule, and a key supporter of the Iraq war. He has also been around the world promoting true democratic governments, calling people to not follow populist regimes (like Chavez's in Venezuela). Chavez has accused Aznar of promoting the FTAA and of aligning Spain to the Empire, and decided to call Aznar a fascist in a summit of Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese Heads of State. Aznar, who wasn't present at the summit, didn't tell Chavez to "shut up".

It was king Juan Carlos of Spain who said to Chavez during the mentioned summit: "Why don't you shut up?". He said so because he couldn't stand Chavez calling Jose Maria Aznar a fascist anymore, he was fed up and notoriously angry at the summit of Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese Heads of State gathered in Chile. King Juan Carlos was seconded by the current Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who told Chavez that "I think there's an essence, and a principle in a dialogue. To respect and be respected, we must avoid to fall in dismissive insults. It is valid to disagree radically with ideas, and to denounce ideas and behaviors without falling in dismissive insults".

Chavez mentioned later that no Head of State has the right of shutting up any other Head of State, but he was very specific in saying that the Venezuelan government "reserves the right to answer to any aggression anywhere, in any space and any manner" they consider convenient (not excluding insults). However, I believe that the incident was a big hit to Hugo Chavez's ego, but it is more than fair. Many others should follow this kind of example given by Mr. Zapatero and king Juan Carlos from time to time too. Two thumbs up for those Spanish leaders.


At 7:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good write up and backround information on what Chavez has said and the lack of response from the international community. I applaud the King's comments to Chavez. Too bad Chavez is supported by idiots like Jimmy Carter, Sean Penn, and Danny Glover. I'm sure Chavez has permanently silenced critics inside his country before the King's response to Chavista talk. Let's see if the UN has the courage to pass a resolution against Chavez' hate speech next time he insults another democratically elected leader. Chavez is a fascist the US and other countries better wake up to this threat and deal with him with disdain.

At 10:04 AM , Blogger Eddie said...

Yes, I believe the same. In fact I wonder why didn't the UN act when Chavez walked into a meeting saying that it smelled like sulphur there because the evil had just been there (making a reference to Bush's presence at the UN a few moments before). As Chavez lacks any kind of politics etiquette, it should be enforced somehow. I think that king Juan Carlos just took a first step on that!

At 10:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually i'm glad chavez expressed himself in this way. i'm not picking sides or saying anyone is right or wrong. however, george bush is a big boy and he can defend himself if he wants. i am of the opinion that bush should infact shut up. he has destroyed u.s. credibility and standing in the world. he makes us look like arrogant hypocrites and i'm sick of it. if congress won't say it, i'm glad someone will.


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