RIGHT ROYAL WELCOME FOR CHAVEZ

King Juan Carlos received President Hugo Chavez at his summer home on Mallorca last Friday with smiles and a warm handshake which is perhaps why the Venezuelan promised to supply Spain with 10,000 barrels of oil at the fixed price if $100 a barrel for the next 100 years. Spain will pay with transfers of technology and infrastructure. It was their first meeting since the King famously told Sr Chavez to shut up at a conference in Chile last November, after he accused former Prime Minister José María Aznar of being a fascist. The remark outraged the Venezuelan president, who called the King “arrogant” and “ill-mannered” and threatened to boot all Spanish companies out of Venezuela. However, diplomatic efforts on both sides finally got the two men together. Sr Chavez arrived an hour late for his appointment and jokingly said to the king: “Why don’t we head to the beach?” The King’s “por qué no te callas?” became the buzz of the Spanish-speaking world. It was even turned into a mobile phone ringtone – dozens sprang up in the days following the outburst. It became a cult slogan, spawned hundreds of jokes and cartoons and was emblazoned across T-shirts throughout Spain and South America, and especially in Venezuela itself, where it became the opposition’s favourite slogan. And the King once again had the last word last week. Sr Chavez said during an exclusive interview with TVE1 before he left last Friday night that the King had given him a present just before he headed to the airport for the flight to Madrid and his meeting with Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. He opened the parcel on the place – to discover a T-shirt with that famous phrase writ large on it. He told the interviewer: “I don’t know where he got it from but he passed it on to me. Your King is very naughty.”

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