Venezuela: Why Don't You Shut Up?

In a matter of hours, the phrase of the weeks has become a ringtone for cellular phones, parodies on YouTube and it is the latest slogan adopted by the Venezuelan opposition, which has not chosen one campaign against president Hugo Chavez. “Why don't you shut up?” were the words of the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, when Chávez incessantly interrupted the right to speak from the Spanish president, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero during an Ibero-American summit, which took place in Chile last weekend.

Hugo Chávez had referred to the ex-president of Spain, José María Aznar, as “fascist” on repeated occasions, for which Zapatero asked for the right to speak during the meeting in order to demand respect for the ex-president and the people that voted for him, even though Aznar is an adversary in Spanish politics. In the middle of his words, Chávez insisted on interrupting to say that he would also ask for respect from Aznar because the King intervened for 2 seconds to say, “Why don't you shut up?” and from there the headlines on hundreds of newspapers, radio and television in Venezuela, Spain and the world. This sub-titled video shows the incident.

In the blogospheres and the Twitter messages of Ibero-America, the issue has continued to be commented upon in distinct manners. President Chávez has been characterized by his popularity and for not being indifferent to anybody…he is also well known for his long speeches on radio and on television. His Sunday television shows last seven hours. The phrase has become an act of justice for those that are against him. Enigma Express [es] complied hundreds of blogs that made fun of “Why don't you shut up?”SlaveofthePC [es] dedicated a poem to the episode:

¿Por qué no te callas y nos dejas en paz?
No te das cuenta que ya no te queremos más
¿Por qué no te callas y aprendes a respetar?
Fuera de Venezuela nadie te va a tolerar
¿Por qué no te callas y acabas con la corrupción?
Rodeado de ladrones has pretendido hacer nación
¿Por qué no te callas y nos devuelves a Venezuela?
Tu discurso de odio ha destruido esta hermosa tierra

Why don't you shut up and leave us in peace?
Don't you realize that we don't like you anymore
Why don't you shut up and learn to respect others?
Outside of Venezuela no one will tolerate you
Why don't you shut up and end corruption?
Surrounded by thieves, you have pretended to form a nation
Why don't you shut up and give Venezuela back to us?
Your words of hate have destroyed this beautiful land.

Karelia writes [es]:

“Por fin alguien le dice algo en la cara”: “Chávez no deja hablar a nadie y mucho menos escucha, por eso estamos como estamos. Necesitamos mandarlo a callar en casa, y eso tiene que salir de nosotros como ciudadanos, porque no puede ser que la voz del Estado y del Gobierno (que se ha convertido en una) sea la única que se escuche y que además nos hable gritado […]. Por hoy y porque hizo algo que en muchas ocasiones le ha provocado a millones de venezolanos, ¡que viva el Rey! XD”

Finally someone says something in his face. Chávez does not let anyone talk and listens even less, that is why we are like this. We need him to shut up at home and that should be from us as citizens, because it cannot be that the voice of the State and of the Government (which has become one) be the only one that you hear and that talks to us by shouting … today and as he has done on many occasions by provoking millions of Venezuelans. Long live the King! XD

The Spanish political analyst, Ignacio Escolar wrote that this episode was a lesson for Aznar [es]:

Dice Zapatero que el Gobierno de España ‘siempre ha respetado, respeta y respetará a todos los gobernantes elegidos democráticamente’. Discrepo. Ese ‘ha respetado’ se referirá sólo a los últimos tres años y medio. Hugo Chávez tenía algo de razón cuando criticaba el papel que jugó el Gobierno de Aznar durante el golpe de estado de 2002 en Venezuela, aunque no fuese ni el día ni el interlocutor ni el lugar oportuno para ese debate.

Zapatero says that the Government of Spain has ‘always respected, respects and will respect all those that govern who are elected democratically’. I disagree. The ‘has respected’ only refers to the last three and a half years. Hugo Chávez was partly right when he critcized the role that the Government of Aznar played in the Veneuzlan coup of 2002, even though he was not there that day or was he the one being spoken to that day for that debate.

Nevertheless, a large part of the Spanish press harshly attacked the Venezuelan president for his declarations and supported the King's reaction. The most jocular, but also offensive video against the Venezuelan president has attracted more than 430,000 visits and 1,400 comments in less than 2 days. It is a parody of a classic Venezuelan song in the Spanish rhythm of paso doble called “Long live, Spain,” but instead it says “Why don't you shut up?” It shows the president as an ape, which has been used to refer to him by his internal and external adversaries.

One one hand, there have been articles written against the King, the Monarchy and the press by bloggers that support President Chávez saying that it was a lack of royal respect and by a colonizing attempt by the King of Spain. Okrim Al Qasal from the blog Okrim Opina [es] says that the problem has to do with the revolution proposed by Chávez, which touches upon interests that are intolerable to world powers.

Cuando algún líder, en este caso Chávez, se sale mínimamente de este guión de títeres acartonados que tan bien quedan en las pantallas de CNN con su lenguaje de pseudotolerancia del tipo “te respeto si estimulas el libre mercado, si no eres un tirano dictador”, entonces estalla la polémica. Si alguien cree que el Rey mandó callar a Chávez sólo por su acertada y justa descripción de PP Aznar, se equivoca. La Revolución Bolivariana y la propuesta de Reforma están tocando intereses muy, muy estratégicos. Se huele en el ambiente.

When a leader, in this case Chávez, strays even minimally from the script of puppets that appear on the screens of CNN with their language of pseudo-tolerance like, “I'll respect you if you stimulate free markets, and if not you are a tyrant dictator,” then controversy erupts. If someone thinks that the King told Chávez to shut up only because of his correct and fair description of PP Aznar, then he is wrong. The Bolivarian Revolution and the reform proposals are touching interests very strategic. You can smell it in the air.

On the other hand, journalist José Roberto Duque places the magnifying glass on the constitutional and democratic aspects on the King of Spain by placing a series of photos [es] with the deceased dictator, Francisco Franco and says:

Dedico esta foto al antichavismo “amante de la democracia” […] Aquí van otras foticos (cortesía de Mauricio Rodríguez) del sujeto que se cree ungido por su origen, y cuyo Por qué no te callas ha sido tan celebrado por los sabios amantes de la democracia y la libertad en Venezuela y el mundo.

I dedicate this photo to the anti-Chavism “lover of democracy” … Here are other photographs (courtesy of Mauricio Rodríguez) of the man that thinks himself anointed by his origin and whose “Why don't you shut up?” has been celebrated by the wise lovers of democracy and freedom in Venezuela and the world.

Reindertot, a young Venezuelan blogger, titles his post “Juan Carlos and the small virtual victory of the readers of Hola! [es]” in reference to the a famous entertainment magazine edited in Spain.

Resulta que esta bien para Juan Carlos ser grosero y maleducado, pero no para Chávez. Vaya paradoja. Chávez es el inculto, el mono, el macaco mayor, el zambo, el que DEBE CALLARSE. Pero Juan Carlos, el cual además no estaba metido en la conversación directa Chávez-Zapatero, de repente si puede gritar lo que le venga en gana y ser vitoreado por los medios y los pequeños opositores los cuales se han autoconvencido de que han obtenido una “pequeña victoria” en las palabras del Rey español, cuando evidentemente sufrirán otra derrota electoral en diciembre. Casi conmovedor.

It appears that it is fine that Juan Carlos can be rude and impolite, but not Chávez. What a paradox. Chávez is the uncultured, the monkey, the older macaco, the zambo, he is the one that should SHUT UP. But Juan Carlos, who wasn't even in the direct conversation between Chávez – Zapatero, apparently can yell whatever he wants and be cheered by the media and the opposition that have convinced themselves that they have achieved a “small victory” in the words of the Spanish King, and who will evidently suffer another electoral defeat in December. It is almost moving.

In the middle of political polarization, this is another event of global notoriety about Venezuela, which is being interpreted from within the country with two views absolutely distinct and exclusive of the same reality. The phrase from the King is the new joke and slogan for Chávez’ opposition and also another argument for his backers to continue with the approval of constitutional reform in December.

Translation by Eduardo Avila


  • Well, regardless of whether I like him or not, but he deserved it in every sense of the word. A president of a country does not only represent himself, he represents all his people, and rudeness is not something i would want my president to represent [personally speaking].

  • Peter

    The rich folk in Venezuela and America want Chavez gone – thus the incessant media coverage denouncing Chavez.

  • Palomudo

    Thanks to your majesty the KING JUAN CARLOS de BORBON president Chavez just announced a micro review of the Spanish businesses operating in Venezuela.

    Any discrepancy and or business connection to the Spanish crown will hopefully be kick out of Venezuela.
    I predict the 2 Spanish banks will be hit by Juan Carlos disrespect to venezuela.

    I would suggest to the King to apologize to president Chavez, Venezuelans and Latin American people for his insults and arrogance.

    We are no longer executable and the Spanish genocide will never be allowed again!

    I am a Venezuelan with a Catalan grandfather, it is time the royal reap off come to an end. He was named king by Franco (a terrible pro-nazi dictator) is/was the king pro-nazi by association? He is now one of the riches man in the world.

  • For some perceptive analysis of the “shut-up” incident along with a little humor, check out:

    “VENEZUELA: The President, The Prime Minister, The King and Colonialism’s Ugly Head” at:

  • ethel

    just another sing that chavez is losing it, or crazy already, how can one tolerate this kind of disrespect between country leaders?

  • I don’t think that any spanish bank will be kicked out of Venezuela, specially because one of them supported his electoral campaigns with huge amounts of money. Anyway how do you think that this businesses get to get any activity in our countries and not have been “reviewed” at all? It is something called corruption.

  • Just a correction: mr Zapatero is not the “president” of Spain nor mr Aznar its “former Presidents”. How could they be if Spain has a King? They are (were in the case of Aznar) Prime Ministers.

  • Regarding the prez-prime minister thing:

    Only in Spain is the Prime Minister also known as the “President of the Government” and is often addressed as President.

  • Hugo may be joke to some, and a hero to other, but either way, he is a marketing genius to Western Media. When was the last time the leader of ANY South American country demanded the attention of the world’s media? We even made a shirt out of the incident at Who knows how he will go down in history, but he will always be remembered.

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.