Authorities in Spain fired the Spanish consul in Boston “for breach of obligations” following the Boston bombings.
Pablo Sánchez-Terán apparently shut down the consulate during the regular closing time, just hours after two home-made bombs detonated near the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three and injuring over 170.
Although no Spaniards were among the injured, according to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, there were 91 people from the European country registered to run in the race. His decision to head home at the regular closing time, 5 p.m., sparked a firestorm in Spain and in social media. Many criticized him for being callous when the city was under attack.
It was closing time.
“New putdown: you work less than the consul in Boston,” someone wrote on Twitter.
José Manuel Garcia-Margallo, Spain’s foreign minister, dismissed Sánchez-Terán for failing to carry out his “consular duties.”
In an interview with a Spanish sports TV channel in Boston, Sánchez-Terán said he went home two hours after the explosions because “it was closing time.” He was also criticized for not giving out contact information for Spaniards needing aid.
According to EFE news service, there were almost 4,000 Spaniards registered with the Boston consulate last year. Although no one from Spain was injured in the Boston bombings, about two dozen Spaniards were trapped in their hotels shortly after the attack, according to EFE said.
Sánchez-Terán was also the subject of controversy almost a decade ago, while he was the consul in Cordoba, Argentina. A comment he made on Spain’s version of Columbus Day, on October 12, offended some.
"We would be much worse off under Inca, Aztec, Sioux and Apache civilizations, which have been idealized by historians and anthropologists, as it is well known that they had caste divisions and an imperial and bloodthirsty character," El Mundo quoted him as saying.