By: NATASHA SMITH
AROUND HALF a million people have downloaded a recent outburst by the King of Spain at the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to their mobile phones. The insult includes the words “Why don’t you shut up?” and it has become a hit across Spain, generating an estimated 1.5 million euros.
The outburst occurred at the Ibero-American Summit in Santiago, Chile, last weekend when Mr Chavez called former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar a fascist, adding that “fascists are not human. A snake is more human”.
Current Spanish PM José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero came to the defence of his predecessor and said: “Aznar was democratically elected by the Spanish people and was a legitimate representative of the Spanish people”.
When Mr Chavez repeatedly tried to interrupt, the king leaned forward and said: “Why don’t you shut up?”
The row then escalated when Mr Chavez said the king was “imprudent” and asked him if he knew in advance of the 2002 coup against him. He later accused the king of “arrogance” but said he did not want a political crisis with Spain, only that Venezuela’s head of state be respected.
Branded mugs, t-shirts and websites featuring the row have been popping up ever since and even in Venezuela, a group of students who oppose Mr Chavez’s government have reportedly said they have downloaded the ringtone. One student said: “It’s something that a lot of people would like to tell the president”.
Companies selling the ringtones have managed to avoid legal issues over the breach of the king’s image rights by using an actor to voice the line.