Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez created a turmoil at the Ibero-American summit meeting in Chile by proposing drastic changes in Latin American borders. “Bolivia has a right to the sea. You know my position, and we all know the history. Bolivia had access to the sea, and that was just and legitimate.” Bolivia lost the territory in a war with Chile. Chavez also blasted the Summit because of its theme of “social cohesion” claiming that idea was a “very conservative, static concept.” He preferred that the Summit adopt at its theme, “social transformation.”Chilean officials were furious at their guest’s comments pointing out Chile had gotten rid of the dictator, Pinochet, and was in the process of creating a modern democratic society which was also addressing issues of poverty. Chavez was supported by Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua who went further in suggesting the Organization of American States should be replaced with a new organization of Latin American nations that would exclude the United States.
There were several raucous incidents during the meetings. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zaptero was delivering a speech when Chavez interrupted him and began denounced the Spanish leader for taking part in a coup that attempted to overthrow the Venezuelan government. After the fourth interruption, the King of
Spain, Juan Carlos lost his temper and told exclaimed to Chavez, “Why don’t you just shut up?” Midway through a speech by Daniel Ortega, the pro-Chavez supporter, the King stormed out of the meeting. During quieter moments of the meeting, President Bachelet of Chile met with Bolivian leader Evo Morales and she offered to discuss possibilities of finding ways for his nation to get access to the sea.
Chavez is quite testy when it comes to denouncing US imperialism, but appears much quieter when discussion shifts to his efforts to stifle free speech in Venezuela and to allow himself to be president forever.