[DEBATE] : Fw: Un-civil society: King Juan Carlos vs President Hugo
p.waterman at inter.nl.net
Wed Nov 21 15:09:00 GMT 2007
----- Original Message -----
From: "Marcos Arruda - PACS" <marruda at pacs.org.br>
To: "openDemocracy" <openDemocracy at openDemocracy.net>; "Anthony Barnett"
<anthony.barnett at opendemocracy.net>; "Peter Day" <peter.day01 at bbc.co.uk>;
"François Houtart" <houtart at espo.ucl.ac.be>; "Ignacio Ramonet"
<Secretariat at Monde-Diplomatique.fr>; "hilary wainwright" <hilary1 at manc.org>;
"Tatiana Miralles" <peich9 at hotmail.com>; "Dev&Paix" <info at devp.org>; "Pedro.
Portella" <Pedro.Portella at bam.de>; "Rui Martins - Jorn."
<ruimartins at hispeed.ch>
Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 2:11 PM
Subject: Un-civil society: King Juan Carlos vs President Hugo
> Published on openDemocracy ()
> King Juan Carlos vs President Hugo
> By Justin Vogler
> Created 2007-11-13 17:39
> "Why don't you shut up?" shot King Juan Carlos, voice trembling and hand
> raised threateningly towards the Venezuelan president who had just
> former Spanish prime minister, José María Aznar, a "fascist" and a
> Chávez didn't shut up and nor did his Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales,
> charged the "Europeans" with not accepting their historic debt with Latin
> America's indigenous population. The Cuban vice-president, Carlos Lage,
> threw in his two cents against Aznar and then Daniel Ortega  let rip
> against the Spanish energy giant Unión Fenosa, accusing them of massive
> fraud in their dealings with Nicaragua. It was all too much for poor Juan
> Carlos and the enraged monarch stood up and stormed out of the closing
> ceremony of the seventeenth Ibero-American summit in Santiago on 10
> Despite the compulsory brave face, the Chilean organisers must have
> concluded that the event  was a disaster. Far from confirming Michelle
> Bachelet's  international standing the world saw a weak hostess unable
> to keep order. She spectacularly failed to silence Hugo Chávez and had to
> plead with King Juan Carlos for him to return for the final photos.
> who initially went out of his way to woo Bachelet, now appears to have
> concluded that there is nothing to be gained from her, or the Chilean
> government's favour. He came to Santiago on a wrecking mission.
> The Spanish papers had no doubt who won the spat. El Pais lauded "Don Juan
> Carlos" who "fulfilled his role given that the Venezuelan president's
> insults crossed the line of what is tolerable in relations between
> countries". For El Mundo's editorial "it was the King of Spain who stopped
> the Venezuelan caudillo in his tracks in front of all the Ibero-American
> leaders, telling him what someone should have told him a long time ago".
> Despite the media praise, the Spanish may be well advised to rethink their
> approach towards the new world. No matter how popular Juan Carlos  is
> home, fielding a Spanish monarch in a summit packed with Latin American
> nationalist leaders who define themselves in opposition to imperialism is
> like throwing a red rag to a herd of bulls.
> Chávez has always worked under the assumption that any press is good
> He came to Santiago looking to steal limelight and push himself onto the
> world's front pages at a time when Venezuelans are preparing to vote on
> controversial new constitution. In this respect, Juan Carlos's outburst
> played  into his hands. But for a man who models himself on
> leader Simon Bolivar, and aspires to lead the south in conflict with the
> north, being told to shut up by a Spanish monarch was humiliating. It is
> telling that the pro-Chávez Venezuelan daily Diario Vea appears to have
> ignored the incident.
> The incoherence of cohesion
> The Venezuelan president's first move after his arrival in Santiago on 9
> November, Friday was to rubbish Bachelet's chosen summit theme :
> cohesion". With typical bluntness he declared that "you can have cohesion
> hell". But, this time at least, there was an astute underlying message.
> Social cohesion is, Chávez told us, "conservative", "static" and
> if it isn't built on "social justice" and "social transformation".
> This cuts neatly to the core of Latin America's democratic predicament.
> stable democracy requires social cohesion. However social cohesion
> a moderately fair distribution  of power and wealth. This doesn't
> anywhere in Latin America, least of all in Chile. Chávez had actually said
> something profound and, in so doing, revealed the summit for what it was:
> expensive and ill-conceived marketing operation with no real content.
> Then there was the interchange with the Spaniards. This again can be
> subjected to different readings. Chávez's ire was provoked by Spanish
> minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's  recent insistence that
> development is impossible if countries insist on blaming external factors
> for their economic and political woes. This is standard neo-liberal
> criticism of Latin American dependency theory and is a comfortable
> for any leader of a former colonial power to take.
> For his part, Chávez observed that José María Aznar's  documented
> support  for the attempted coup in Venezuela in 2002 represented an
> external factor that did threaten Venezuela's political and economic
> stability. He went on to recount a telephone conversation he had had
> previously with Aznar during which the Spanish prime minister encouraged
> to cut his ties with Cuba and join "our club: the first world". When
> raised the fate of poor states like Haiti, Aznar reportedly replied:
> "Chávez, these have already screwed themselves".
> It was in this context that Chávez called  Aznar a fascist and a
> worldview that divides states between "the first world" and the "screwed"
> certainly smacks of something not far from fascism. It is true that Chávez
> was almost definitely playing to the home audience. Even so, calling
> by its name is commendable and an international summit is a good place to
> it. It certainly makes more sense than mouthing vacuous sound-bites about
> "social cohesion".
> But to go from this to saying that "a snake is more human than a fascist
> a racist" is childish and makes nonsense of what could have been a thought
> provoking intervention. Maybe it all fitted with the objective of grabbing
> headlines. From outside at least, it looked like Chávez had once again
> too far and spoilt the whole effect.
> The contra summit
> From the conference centre, Chávez and his cohorts were rushed to
> infamous national stadium for the close of the "people's" "summit of
> friendship and integration". These gathering are always depressing affairs
> in Chile. Civil society is weak and the Chilean Communist Party continues
> play its historic role of co-opting and controlling social movements. Only
> about 3,000 people showed up to sweat it out on Saturday 10 November and
> instead of the colour and diversity that usually mark social forums the
> was met by a sea of red flags emblazoned with the hammer and sickle.
> In place of lively debate about globalisation and global warming the air
> hung with nostalgia and the spectre of bygone heroes reduced by worship to
> monochrome: Salvador Allende , Victor Jara , Gladys Marín ,
> Guevara . It didn't help that Daniel Ortega was among the first to
> speak. His slow rambling discourse was full of capitalism's perverse
> contradictions, the evil of imperialism and reminiscences of the 1978
> guerrilla struggle. There was nothing that belonged to the new century and
> no indication that the Sandinista leader  has a coherent plan for
> Nicaragua's  socio-economic development.
> The Cuban vice-president, Carlos Lage , was better. He did the
> obligatory roars of "socialismo o muerte!" and "Viva Fidel!" and touched
> usual ports: the Cubans imprisoned in the United States for spying, the
> blockade and the immortality of the revolution. But he did give a concise,
> articulate and in many ways inspiring speech, and was alone in remembering
> to talk about poverty, education and health.
> Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa , didn't make the venue, fuelling
> speculation that he may be rethinking his links  with the region's
> radical left. Evo Morales  did come but was late and inevitably it was
> Chavez who dominated the proceedings.
> I have sat out a number of Chávez's diatribes and every time agonised to
> decipher the political message behind the bombastic tomfoolery and
> nationalist rhetoric. It's usually tough going, Saturday was no exception.
> True, the speeches are not meant for me, they are meant for Venezuela's
> who live in a different socio-economic and cultural reality. I accept,
> too charitably, that the endless babble about Simon Bolívar ,
> de Miranda  and Antonio José de Sucre  are part of a concerted
> effort to reconstruct Latin American history on leftist terms. And I
> understand that all politicians, especially those who court the "great
> unwashed", need the common touch.
> Even so, there are times when none of this is sufficient and one is forced
> to conclude that Chávez's verbosity is a self-indulgence that serves only
> inflate his own ego. There is, I believe, good being done in Venezuela and
> more than anything the world needs international voices with the courage
> integrity to speak truth to power and call fascism by its name.
> The tragedy of Hugo Chávez is that by talking too much, he becomes too
> to ignore or, as appears to have been the case on 10 November, he lays
> himself open to derision. Whatever the rights and wrongs of an unelected
> monarch berating an elected president, King Juan Carlos got one thing
> on Saturday: Chávez could certainly do with shutting up a bit.
> Source URL:
>  http://www.tcgnews.com/santiagotimes/
>  http://www.opendemocracy.net/node/3183
>  http://latin%20america:20/
>  http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/mapuche_3661.jsp
>  http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/pinochet_4170.jsp
>  http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/ortega_4070.jsp
>  http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/books/default.aspx?id=6482
>  http://www.opendemocracy.net/node/2059
>  http://www.opendemocracy.net/node/2319
>  http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/venezuala_2730.jsp
>  http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/venezuela_3255.jsp
>  http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/venezuela_oil_3580.jsp
>  http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/bolivarian_4146.jsp
>  http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/oil_philip_4478.jsp
>  http://bt.yahoo.com/
>  http://www.la-moncloa.es/Presidente/Biografia/default.htm
>  http://www.washingtonspeakers.com/speakers/Speaker.cfm?SpeakerID=4755
>  http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/dec2004/vene-d10.shtml
>  http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/11/11/america/spain.php
>  http://www.salvador-allende.cl/
>  http://www.mundoandino.com/Chile/Victor-Jara
>  http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article5183.ece
>  http://www.marxists.org/archive/guevara/index.htm
>  http://www.presidencia.gov.ec/
>  http://www.brookings.edu/press/Books/2006/franciscodemiranda.aspx
>  http://www.mundoandino.com/Peru/Antonio-Jose-de-Sucre
> Justin Vogler works as a freelance journalist based in Chile, teaches
> political science in the socio-economics department of Valparaiso
> and is studying for a PhD at the department of peace studies at Bradford
> University, England. He has spent twelve years travelling and working on
> development projects in southeast Asia and Latin America and is a regular
> contributor to the English-language daily, the Santiago Times
> This article is published by Justin Vogler , and openDemocracy.net under a
> Creative Commons licence. You may republish it free of charge with
> attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you
> teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation.
> Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on
> this site are published under different terms.
> Avis de confidentialité
> L'information contenue dans cette communication est strictement réservée à
> l'usage de l'individu auquel elle est destinée et peut contenir des
> informations confidentielles. L'usage de cette information par tout
> individu autre que la personne désignée, y compris sa distribution, sa
> reproduction ou sa divulgation est strictement interdit. Si vous avez
> cette communication par erreur, veuillez en informer immédiatement
> l'expéditeur de ce message par retour de courrier électronique, et
> supprimer le présent message et détruire immédiatement toutes les copies
> ce document.
> No virus found in this incoming message.
> Checked by AVG Free Edition.
> Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 269.16.2/1142 - Release Date:
> 20-11-2007 17:44
More information about the Debate-list