Chavez says Spanish king looking like Fidel Castro

12th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez joked Friday that Spanish King Juan Carlos' new beard was similar to Fidel Castro's, in his second meeting with the monarch since the two clashed at a summit in 2007

Madrid - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez joked Friday that Spanish King Juan Carlos' new beard was similar to Fidel Castro's, in his second meeting with the monarch since the two clashed at a summit in 2007.

"He has grown a beard, like Fidel," Chavez said to the king before the two held talks for about half an hour at the monarch's Zarzuela palace in Madrid.

"It is to change my look a bit," said the monarch, who grew the beard during his summer holidays on the island of Majorca.

At the Ibero-American summit in Chile in November 2007, King Juan Carlos sparked a diplomatic row when he turned to Chavez -- who had been repeatedly interrupting a speech by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero -- and said: "Why don't you shut up."

The king's outburst became a catchphrase in the Spanish speaking world which appeared on T-shirts and was even turned into a mobile phone ring-tone that was downloaded by millions of people.

Shortly after the incident Chavez warned that Caracas would freeze relations with Madrid until the Spanish king apologized for telling him to shut up.

The two men patched up their differences at a meeting in July at the king's Marivent palace, his summer residence in Majorca, in July 2008.

During that meeting, King Juan Carlos gave Chavez a T-shirt with the famous phrase and the Venezuelan president said the incident at the summit would become "something that we will laugh about for the rest of our lives".

Chavez also met with Zapatero on Friday during his brief stay in Spain, the last stop on a tour of Europe and the Middle East.

He arrived in Madrid from Moscow after visiting Belarus, Libya, Algeria, Syria and Iran.

Spain is a major investor in oil-rich Venezuela. Major Spanish firms like bank BBVA and oil firm Repsol have poured millions of euros into the Latin American country in recent years.

AFP / Expatica

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