Sunday, November 11, 2007

Viva el Rey!

H.M. King Juan Carlos I of Spain

In a moment which warmed my occasionally monarchist heart H.M. King Juan Carlos (Bourbon) of Spain gave a brief but firm rebuke to Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez last night in Santiago Chile. The heated exchange occurred at a summit of Spanish and Latin American leaders after Chavez delivered one of his infamous ad hominem attacks, this time directed at former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar a close ally of the United States. He repeatedly described Aznar (who has been out of office for three years) as a fascist, and inferred that he was less human than a snake.

The current Spanish PM Zapatero (himself a socialist) reproved Chavez in his own address for his undiplomatic language in reference to a democratically elected representative of the Spanish people. During Zapatero's remarks the Venezuelan bully repeatedly attempted to interrupt him until King Juan Carlos turned to him and said "Hugo. Why don't you just shut up?" Adding further weight to the sharply worded rebuke from a royal sovereign to another head of state, the King chose to address Chavez using the very informal "por qué no te callas" vs. formal "por qué Ud. no le calla." In Spanish this is rather the equivalent of speaking sharply to a child or servant.

It's good to be the king.

Hugo... Would you like a little Bourbon with that dressing (down)?

1 comment:

Alice C. Linsley said...

The formal should read: Por que no se calla? It is remarkable indeed that El Rey Juan Carlos used the "tutear" when addressing Chevez. Very diplomatic on the one hand to address the socialist as if they were equals, and very condescending on the other hand, since they so clearly are not equal in dignity or honor.