The debate within Chile’s legislature between supporters of Venezuela’s President Chavez and opponents became hot and furious as demands were expressed for an apology after Spain’s King Juan Carlos told the would be Venzuelan dictator to “just shut up.” Chavez had been attacking Spain’s business influence in the region and insisting he was doing more for democracy than any other nation. Chilean Foreign Minister Moxley responded that Chile has accomplished a remarkable program over the past fifteen years in ending the Pinochet dictatorship and creating a vibrant democracy. He also expressed “a profound solidarity with the King and the Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero.”
Chavez has billions of oil dollars to spread around Latin America in his efforts to popularize his version of “Bolivarism.” Chile has made incredible strides in ending vestiges of a cruel authoritarian regime and establishing the basis of a democratic society. It is addressing issues of health and poverty and reaching out to work cooperatively with other nations like Bolivia. Chavez can grandstand in Venezuela because he has gained increasing control over the media, but in the light of an open conference he comes across as a loud mouth braggart.