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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 17:41 GMT
Spain king 'arrogant' says Chavez
Hugo Chavez
Mr Chavez warned Spanish commercial interests may be hurt
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has accused Spain's King Juan Carlos of "arrogance" after he told Mr Chavez to shut up during a summit in Chile.

However, Mr Chavez said he did not want a political crisis with Spain following the clash - only that Venezuela's head of state be respected.

Later, however, he said political, diplomatic and economic ties with Spain were being closely reviewed.

Spain has said it hopes for a swift return to normal diplomatic relations.

Mr Chavez's interview on state television on Wednesday could be seen as fuelling the row.

'No crisis'

"[The king] disrespected me, and he was laid bare before the world in his arrogance and also his impotence," Mr Chavez told a news conference on Tuesday, before adding: "We don't want this to become a political crisis."

He went on to say that Spanish commercial interests in Venezuela were not indispensable and hinted that they could be affected if the dispute worsened.

"Spain has many investments, private companies here and we don't want to damage that, but if they are damaged, they are damaged... We don't need it," he said.

The spat began at the Ibero-American Summit in Chile's capital, Santiago, when Mr Chavez called former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, a close ally of US President George W Bush, a fascist, adding "fascists are not human. A snake is more human."

Current Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero then said: "[Former Prime Minister] Aznar was democratically elected by the Spanish people and was a legitimate representative of the Spanish people."

When Mr Chavez repeatedly tried to interrupt, the king leaned forward and said: "Why don't you shut up?" before storming out.

The row later escalated when Mr Chavez said the king was "imprudent" and asked if he knew in advance of the 2002 coup against him.

SEE ALSO
Spain seeks to defuse Chavez row
13 Nov 07 |  Americas
Chavez refuses to be silenced
12 Nov 07 |  Americas
Shut up, Spain's king tells Chavez
10 Nov 07 |  Americas
Profile: Hugo Chavez
04 Dec 06 |  Americas



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