Monday, November 10, 2008

Shut Up, Hugo Chavez: The One-Year Anniversary

BOULDER, Colorado -- It was exactly one year ago today when Spain's King Juan Carlos I told Venezuelan President to "shut up." The incident took place at the Ibero-American Summit in Santiago, Chile.

While Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was addressing the conference, he was repeatedly interrupted by the thick-necked Venezuelan despot, who was hurling insults mostly at the previous prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar. Messrs. Zapatero and Chavez had a brief but heated back-and-forth, and Chavez' microphone was turned off, but he continued to rant. Then the Spanish monarch leaned forward and said, "¿Por qué no te callas?", or, "Why don't you just shut up?"

Here's the video.

I am sure this is something that millions of Venezuelans shout at their television sets on a weekly basis, as the president hosts a live talk show every Sunday, Alo Presidente, which usually involves Chavez prognosticating for hours on end - his longest program to date dragged on for eight hours.

So, cheers to King Juan Carlos - I hope he gets more opportunities in the future to tell this tremendous windbag to shut his goddamn mouth.

UPDATE: Venezuelans appear to have been given a holiday from the president's variety show, as Alo Presidente will not be aired again until the beginning of December, so as not to interfere with elections slated for November 23.

UPDATE, pt. 2: Of much greater import (and relevance to this blog), today also marks the thirteenth anniversary of the execution of Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. Saro-Wiwa was a tireless voice for his Ogoni people of the Niger Delta region, and he championed human rights and enivornmental causes. He was arrested several times for his activities, the final time being in May 1994; he was charged with inciting murder, and the regime of Gen. Sani Abacha sentenced him to death. He, along with eight other Ogoni activists, was hanged on November 10, 1995, an event that sparked international outrage, leading to Nigeria's suspension from the Commonwealth of Nations.

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