Shut up the shuttin’ up, already…

Oh, this is too good. First the King of Spain tells Chavecito to shut up. Now, the damage control begins.

The Spanish foreign minister has moved to defuse a public row between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Spanish King Juan Carlos.

“I don’t believe it should affect relations with Venezuela”, he said.

On Saturday the king told Mr Chavez to “shut up” at a summit in Chile after the president said ex-Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar was a “fascist”.

The next day Mr Chavez said the king was “imprudent” and asked if he knew in advance of the 2002 coup against him.

Spain’s Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said that he wanted dialogue with Venezuela to continue “on condition that we are respected”.


Notice how this is still being framed by the press as “Chavez was diswespectful! Mommy, da big bad socialist was wude to da King! Waaaaaa!”

Meanwhile, in reality, a different picture is emerging. This is Spain being forced to admit it hasn’t been entirely innocent–again. I found an older article showing that Miguel Angel Moratinos has actually been down this road before.

Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, said in a television program on Monday that Spain’s ambassador to Venezuela during the coup, by rebel generals and business leaders, was instructed by the ‘Partido Popular’ government of then-Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar to support the coup plotters.

"Under the previous government," Moratinos admitted, "in an unprecedented move for Spanish diplomacy, the Spanish ambassador (to Venezuela) received instructions to support the coup."

Chávez, who was restored to power by loyal troops in April 2002 after country-wide demonstrations calling for his return, had previously made several statements that he believed Spain and the USA had backed the coup, but Moratinos’ statement is the first time a member of the Spanish government had acknowledged the claims.

Notice that this article is dated 2004. Three years ago Chavecito was already calling for accountability in Spain, and getting thumped for it by Aznar & Co. But lo and behold, another socialist–Moratinos–wasn’t going to let that pass. He admitted that there was, indeed, a government order for the Spanish ambassador in Caracas to support the coup!

It looks like Chavecito wasn’t just shooting off his big mouth out of pure rudeness after all. In fact, it’s starting to look an awful lot like he had a point–the king was imprudent.

And how about that Aznar? Sure smells like he was a fascist. After all, fascism is very capitalist, and has no problem with ousting democratic leftists and suppressing unions so that Big Bidness can have its way. Given that Spain held 10% of foreign investments in Venezuela in 2000 alone, and the US was the #1 foreign investor, and that the “interim president” of the coup of ’02 was a business leader (who had travelled to Spain shortly before the coup), it’s not wrong for Chavecito to use the F-word in reference to any foreign leader who ordered an ambassador to support that coup!

I blogged earlier on how this whole spat was really about Spanish investments in Latin America. Clearly, they still think they have a right to dictate economic policy to the governments in question. And it’s now increasingly evident that it is not foreign business interests that have Chavecito over a barrel, but the other way around.

“Whatever has been privatized can be taken back, we can take it back,” Chavez said earlier at a news conference. “If the government of Spain or the state of Spain … start to generate a conflict, things are not going to go well.”

Gee, he sure doesn’t sound chastened to me.

What next? Will it be legitimate for Chavecito to ask His Majesty if HE knew?

And do you suppose His Majesty will answer with something other than “Shut up!”?

While we ponder that, I feel a song coming on.

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