Chilean president Michelle Bachelet revealed on Thursday during a television interview that she requested Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez not to address the sea-outlet for Bolivia issue during his recent visit to participate in the Ibero-American summit.
"I pointed out to him that with Bolivia it was a bilateral issue and therefore I did not think his remarks were fortunate; therefore I requested him to abstain from any further statements, and so he did", said Bachelet. The confession is particularly significant following the incident during the summit between Venezuela Hugo Chavez and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Rodriguez Zapatero, which irked the Spanish King Juan Carlos who interrupted and addressing the Venezuelan leader told him "why don't you shut up". The Chilean president talked in the program about her experience as the host of the summit which brought together 22 leaders from the Americas, Spain and Portugal. "The most important issue is that the summit was really significant because we're battling for a better Latinamerica for all of us and much was achieved. But then it's hard to understand why at the end it boils down to Chavez, what he said, what he didn't say. Anyhow all leaders praised the organization and congratulated Chile and its president for the excellent organization". Bachelet went on to say that what really bothers her is that at the end of the day this has to do with President Chavez personality, his domestic situation and his willingness to express his opinions forcibly as he always does, and I think that belongs to the anecdotes chapter and not the great opportunities that a summit can and does offer". But even with more frankness President Bachelet said she felt let down. "When the leaders meet behind closed doors each of us talks about whatever he feels is important. I talked about the Chilean experience, fighting poverty, the challenges we still have ahead and complained about the current world order which is unfair and punishes small countries, and at the moment of selling our produce we don't have a chance to get the best conditions". And then "I asked President Chavez that in the name of all leaders from the Ibero-American countries, in the coming OPEC meeting, to please speak for the Latinamericans and ask for an increase in output and lower oil prices, because a country such as Chile with a barrel of oil at a 100 US dollars, will only trigger inflation and bring more misery and poverty for people already suffering". Finally she said that what most baffled her is that reading the press, "it was Saudi Arabia that was actually presenting our request and at the other extreme the President of Venezuela and the president of Iran argued that 100 US dollars was a fair price, and if the price had to go up, let it go up. I feel there's something out of place and I believe we need to given an explanation of what went on. I don't want to believe we were let down".