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Royal rebuke threatens Spain's Venezuela interests

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Royal rebuke threatens Spain's Venezuela interests


Spanish investments in Venezuela could suffer as a result of a spat pitting King Juan Carlos against President Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan leader has warned of commercial repercussions, demanding an apology from Spain’s monarch for telling him to shut up.

For Chavez, the rebuke is reminiscent of Spain’s colonial rule in Latin America. He evoked the fate of indigenous leaders, saying they were told to “shut up” by the Spanish empire. “They silenced them, but they did not silence them because they bowed their heads to the imperial order,” he told foreign journalists in Caracas. “They silenced them when they cut their throats. That is the only way they could silence them.”

A leading investor in Venezuela, Spain is seeking to ease tensions. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said it was common sense that efforts should be made to restore good relations between the two countries. On Saturday, Zapatero was speaking at a summit in Chile when Chavez repeatedly tried to interrupt him, triggering the now infamous royal rebuke.

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