Perhaps a spectre is haunting the Spanish monarchy. At a summit in 2007, Juan Carlos de Borbón, King of Spain, the head of state hand-picked by dictator Francisco Franco as his successor, was moved to outburst by remarks by the President Hugo Chávez, the democratically elected head of state of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
“¿Por qué no te callas? (Why don’t you shut up?)”, the King spat, at the moment Chávez was recalling the attempted coup d’état that sought to depose him in 2002.
Chávez had been referring to the role played by the Spanish government in supporting the coup, and in particular to the role of its prime minister at the time, José María Aznar, whom he referred to as a fascist.
Such plain speaking from a dark-skinned Chávez was intolerable to the blue-blooded Bourbon king, no stranger to supporting right-wing coups himself.