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


  • Matsonian: Yes. I always say that, for good or bad, Chávez is a PopStar. A PopStar president.

    Magbana: You’re right. In Spain is “President of the Government”.

  • filosofo

    chavez es un capo

  • rheta robertson

    hugo chavez quiere comenzar un nuevo régimen para su gente, pero empeorará el país. quiere ser el nuevo Simon Bolivar, él desea unir toda la latinamérica. espero que esto nunca sucederá, todos van a sufrir! y cuando sufren, nadie, ni los United Nations, ni otros paises tendrán la capaz para salvar la gente sufriendo…


  • D Sangiovanni

    Qué carajo tiene que ver una reunión como la que se celebraba en Chile con los insultos de Chávez al ex Primer Ministro de España?

    Y si el Rey y España, o el presidente del Congo sabían del golpe de estado que le dieron, qué?. Un jefe de Estado puede enterarse de que va a pasar un golpe de estado y eso no lo convierte en complice. No sé que tanto critica los golpes de Estado siendo él mismo culpable de un Golpe de Estado que dejó muchos de sus compañeros muertos y que como todos sabemos se rindió cobardemente.

  • Shawn

    God save the King! Thanks for saying what we all want to say to Chavez

  • Enrique Escudero

    Chavez no se calla porque cree que el dinero que maneja le da ese derecho, se cree con derecho de apropiarse de la riqueza del pueblo venezolano y disponerlo como le da la gana, engañando a su pueblo con migajas y limosnas, volviéndolo dependiente del estado sin pensar que algún día se acabará el petroleo y le importa un pepino por que ya estará muerto. Si tanto odia al imperio yanqui ¿por que le sigue vendiento petroleo? que no joda. no puedo creer que haya tantos ciegos. Boliviano

  • Virginia

    King Juan Carlos expressed what so many of us had been wanting to say to Chavez for a long time. The only reason why Chavez is still where he is and doing what he does, is because his country has a stable source of revenues due to their oil reserves. He has absolutely no respect for his own citizens, their private property nor their opinions.
    King Juan Carlos of Spain, though a Monarch, has shown all these past decades that he is much more a democratic person than Chavez himself. Latin American leaders, except for a few, still need to learn how to be a true leader, and we, the Latin Americans, need to learn how to educate and train our own population better so as not to be “swallowed” by these despotic politicians who all they want is power, but never even care about what is good for their countries. In general, it looks like we still live in feudal times in our dear countries….

  • […] “Why don't you shut up?” phrase from Juan Carlos de Borbón, King of Spain to President Chávez during an event in […]


    Bueno Chaves usted y este marioneta de Rafael Correa presidente de Ecuador, ustedes si han brillado ayer por la noche en su discurso tan mediocre hablando nada. Usted Chavez y Correa ustedes padecen de Diplomacia porque cuando uno esta hablando de Diplomacia no se habla cosas interno de asuntos de doz presidentes cosas que hablaron por telefono personalmente usted se parece a una chimosa pero de marca mayor Sr. Chavez y igual al este muchacho mandado por usted este presidente de Ecuador no saben que es dimplomacia vayan ambos para Espana y aprenda alla que es respeto diplomatico. Yo pienso y creo que usted esta o quiere demostrar al mundo que loque compro de armamento con fondo de la gente humilde de Venezuela. Dejame decirte una cosa Cavito la que viven en las fronteras Colombia y Venezuela son hermanos no son enemigos senor Chavito son gente que hacen anos y tras anos negociando trabajando juntos y hasta formaron familias ahora usted como un nino queire jugar con tus juguetes obtenido con plata de Venezuela no suyo sino de la gente buenas de Venezuela que sufren por no tener leche carne etccccc hasta aqui en Aruba vienen y arazan con todo loque sea leche aroz todo loque es comida es una verguenza internacional que Venezuela tiene que pasar en este pendejada suya don Master
    Chavez yo creo que ahora si ya esta llegando su final presidencial por seguro mira atraz el ultimo votacion que puciste sacaras la cuenta mi hermano. Que Dios te ilumine o tambien los santeros Cubanos que reflecione usted y el muchacho mandado que tienes y que estan tan enamorados como parejitos.

    Rafael tocallo

  • […] And of course, it’s been the talk of all media in Spain for the last week. And of course, other media and the blogosphere at […]

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