Source AP ©

Chavez's remarks that he's freezing relations with Madrid not understood clearly in Spain

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that he was freezing bilateral relations with Madrid until King Juan Carlos apologized for telling him to shut up, but Spanish officials seem to by confused over what he meant.

On Nov. 10, Juan Carlos told Chavez to "shut up" during an Ibero-American summit in Chile after the Venezuelan leader called Spain's former premier, Jose Maria Aznar, a fascist.

Chavez on Sunday said: "Until the king of Spain apologizes, I'm freezing relations with Spain."

The Foreign Ministry's top official for Latin America, Trinidad Jimenez, said she had telephoned Venezuelan Ambassador Alfredo Toro and arranged to meet later Monday.

"There have not been any consequences in diplomatic and economic relations," Jimenez said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Bernardino Leon said Spain would also contact Venezuelan officials in Caracas Monday.

Chavez has said he will review Spanish business operations in Venezuela. But Leon said his latest remarks "are not very far removed from what he has been saying these days."

In an interview with Antena 3 television, Leon avoided comment on whether the king or the Spanish government was considering an apology.

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