MADRID – As the Spanish tuned in to local broadcasts to learn details of the horrors of the Boston Marathon bombing, they were confronted with an unflattering domestic development related to the news. Spain’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has fired its consul in Boston for “failing to meet his consular obligations” by closing the local branch according to regular office hours in the middle of the tragedy.
Despite the fact that there were 91 Spaniards running in the marathon and a registered 3,980 Spanish citizens living in the Boston area, Pablo Sanchez-Teran locked up and left the consul at his regularly-scheduled time.
“It was time,” the consul said, defending himself on Marca TV, adding that it was two hours after the explosions and that the consul had an emergency hotline. In the interview, Sanchez-Teran also failed to supply the emergency number to call.
Not only was the explanation inadequate for Foreign Minister Jose Maria Garcia-Margallo, but also for a great many who voiced their outrage on Twitter.
“Don’t type too loud, you might wake the consul in Boston,” read one tweet.
“New putdown: you work less than the consul in Boston,” quipped another.
“They still haven’t fired the consul in Boston. Of course, he’s still sleeping because yesterday was such a long day for him,” wrote another Spaniard.
“The consular service is there to help Spaniards, and at a time of tragedy such as this one, that assistance is infinitely more necessary,” the minister said as a justification for the dismissal.