By Jason Moore
WELL, King Juan Carlos of Spain did what many world leaders have wanted to do for many years; he told Venezuela President Hugo Chavez to shut-up. The King's flare-up at the Ibero American summit followed days of criticism by leftist Latin American leaders of Spain's political and business influence in former colonies. The spark came when Chavez repeatedly called Spain's former conservative prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, a fascist. The King´s outburst received the full backing of the Spanish media and most politicians. Chavez has always maintained that Aznar gave full backing to a coup to oust him. When new Prime Minister Zapatero came to power it appeared that relations between the two countries had returned to normal. But all this changed at the weekend. It was the first time that King Juan Carlos had been involved in an incident of this type. Chavez launched a broadside against the King in one of his usual addresses over the weekend and it appears that relations between the two countries have reached a new low. There is some concern that the King is becoming too involved in politics and that he is being placed in the frontline; just last week he controversially visited Ceuta and Melilla which caused an outcry in Morocco and now this latest incident. I feel that the Spanish government should try and shield the King from any political fall-out which could come about especially when dealing with leaders who are as volatile as Hugo Chavez. On a brighter note I am sure that plenty of world leaders, President Bush included, will be rather pleased that Chavez has been told to shut-up, once and for all.

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