Juan Carlos vs. Hugo Chávez

From this week’s Corridors of Power:

KING: 1, CHAVEZ: 0 — Predictably, the blogosphere had a field day with Spanish King Juan Carlos’s finger-wagging “Why don’t you shut up?” to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in the middle of the Ibero-American summit in Chile. The incident itself was pure political theater, and the sound bite of Chavez interrupting Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and thus earning the royal rebuke seemed to be everywhere. YouTube had a gladiator video game-like scene in which a computer generated Juan Carlos in a Roman tunic slashed Chávez with his sword and sent him hurtling into a dark hole.

In Spain, the unintended consequence of the king’s irritated outburst was to give his image a timely boost. Juan Carlos has not been getting good press lately. As he grows older, and the royal succession to his son, Prince Felipe, looms closer, critics have been questioning the validity of the monarchy in a democratic country in the 21st century. By departing from his usual reserve and coming to the aid of his prime minister, Juan Carlos “strengthened his role as chief of state,” commented the newspaper ABC.

El Pais quoted Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos as saying that the king’s international image “has emerged reinforced from the incident. At the international level and in the press the solidarity and support have been total. The king enjoys enormous political and moral authority.”

For those that missed the incident, this YouTube video has helpful English subtitles:

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