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Last Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007, 10:44 GMT
'Shut up' Chavez is ringtone hit
Mr Zapatero (l) and King Juan Carlos in Santiago, 10 November 2007
King Juan Carlos (r) won plaudits in the media back home

The king of Spain's recent undiplomatic outburst at the Venezuelan president has become a ringtone hit across Spain.

An estimated 500,000 people have downloaded the insult featuring the words "Why don't you shut up?", generating a reported 1.5m euros ($2m).

King Juan Carlos asked Hugo Chavez to "shut up" at a summit in Chile last week after the president said Spain's ex-PM Jose Maria Aznar was a "fascist".

Branded mugs, t-shirts and websites featuring the row are also profitable.

In Venezuela, a group of students who oppose Mr Chavez's government have also been downloading the ringtone, a US newspaper reported.

"It's a form of protest," a 21-year-old student in Caracas told the Miami Herald. "It's something that a lot of people would like to tell the president."

Companies selling the ringtones have avoided legal problems concerning breach of the king's image rights by using an actor to voice the line.

'No crisis'

The spat began at the Ibero-American Summit in Chile's capital, Santiago, last Saturday 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."

Mr Chavez at the summit, 10 November 2007
Mr Chavez (r) called Mr Aznar a fascist during the summit
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?".

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

President Chavez later accused the king of "arrogance" but said he did not want a political crisis with Spain - only that Venezuela's head of state be respected.

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

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