'Shut up' Chavez is ringtone hit

Posted by Simon Pavitt on Nov 19, 2007

The BBC is reporting how the king of Spain's recent undiplomatic outburst at the Venezuelan president has become a ringtone hit across Spain. An estimated 500,000 people have downloaded the insult featuring the words "Why don't you shut up?", generating a reported 1.5m euros ($2 million). King Juan Carlos asked Hugo Chavez to "shut up" at a summit in Chile after Chavez said that Spain's ex-PM Jose Maria Aznar was a "fascist". In Venezuela, a group of students who oppose Mr Chavez's government have also been downloading the ringtone. Companies selling the ringtones have avoided legal problems concerning breach of the king's image rights by using an actor to voice the line.

King Juan Carlos (right)

Madrid train bombs

Posted by Simon Pavitt on Apr 02, 2006

On 11 March 2004, just before the Spanish general election, bombs exploded on 4 trains as they entered Madrid killing 200 people.

The Government hurredly put the blame on ETA, an organisation fighting for Basque independance from Spain. But many people assumed the bombs were a consequence of Spain's support for the war in Iraq and started gathering in the centre of Madrid.

News of the protests spread by mobile phone and more and more people joined, accusing the government of managing the release of information about the attacks to their own political ends. The national newspaper El Pais referred to "the more than dubious attitude of the government in relation to the lines of investigation". Eventually the Government was forced to admit that the explosions might have been caused Al-Qaeda.

In the election a couple of days later the ruling Partido Popular, which had been ahead in the polls, surprisingly lost to the socialist PSOE. As one person put it: