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Chavez seeks apology from Spanish king


Caracas : Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has demanded a formal apology from Spain’s King Juan Carlos to Venezuela and the rest of Latin America for telling him to shut up during a session of the Ibero-American summit meeting, and prevent souring of relations, Spanish news agency EFE reported Wednesday.

“The king blew his top and the least he should do is to offer an apology and tell the world the truth,” Chavez said Wednesday in an interview with a radio station in the southwestern city of Barquisimeto.

Exasperated by Chavez’s attacks on a former Spanish premier during Saturday’s final session of the meeting, King Juan Carlos at one point told Chavez to “shut up,” though the latter said he did not hear the king shout.

The Venezuelan president accused the international press for “motivated” reporting on the incident and denounced “the existence of a campaign on the world level … to make it appear that I was the aggressor, when I didn’t say anything to him (the king).”

Chavez had called former Spanish premier Jose Maria Aznar a “fascist” and accused him of having backed the failed April 2002 coup in Caracas that briefly deposed the Venezuelan leader.

On Wednesday, Chavez, who earlier said he was not seeking a confrontation with Madrid, told a Venezuelan television station he would make a “thorough review” of his country’s relations with Spain.

“At this time, I’m making a thorough review of political, diplomatic and economic relations with Spain,” he said.

“That means that Spanish firms are going to have to start providing more accounting and that I’m going to look closely at them to see what they’re doing here, all the Spanish firms that are in Venezuela,” he said.

Spain is the largest foreign investors in Venezuela.

In Madrid, meanwhile, Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said that the “Venezuelan ambassador conveyed to the Spanish government Caracas’ respect for King Juan Carlos and premier (Jose Louis Rodriquez) Zapatero and Venezuela’s wish to maintain the best level of bilateral relations.”

While stating that the Spanish government would do “everything to recover the climate of normality and positive relations” with the South American country, the foreign minister said he did not consider that the matter had been settled with Venezuela.