The Spanish Consul General in Boston Pablo Sánchez-Terán told Marca TV that he had decided to shut up shop at the consulate just two hours after the deadly attack on the city's marathon — because it was closing time.
“We had to close the consulate because it was time,” the Huffington Post reported Sánchez-Terán as saying to Marca TV.
The consul has now been sacked by Spain's Foreign Ministry for “failing to perform his duties”, reported 20minutos on Tuesday.
Ninety-one Spaniards participated in the Boston marathon in which three people were killed and many others were injured.
Sánchez-Terán, who said he had heard the bomb blasts from his office, later confirmed that no Spaniards had been injured in the attack.
But the Consul General's initial comments on Marca TV caused outrage on Twitter.
The consulate official said that Spaniards with families in Boston should ring the city's hospitals because the embassy was now closed.
User @anaoftherock was quoted by the Huffington Post as tweeting: “New concept. You work less than the Boston consul.”
Meanwhile, the account holder of @bilbo_84 tweeted: “Pablo Sánchez Terán reflects the Spanish political class: lazy, shameless and insensitive.”
The consul also stirred up heated feelings with his comment that none of the people injured in the Boston blast “had a Spanish surname”.
In response, @vinylraven said: “The Spanish consul in Boston has been ringing hospitals and asking, 'Is there a Fernandez there? No. OK. Then there are no injured Spaniards.'”
This is not the first time Sánchez-Terán has made headlines for the wrong reasons.
In 2004, during Columbus Day celebrations in Colombia, the then consular official for the Argentinian city of Cordoba lambasted various South American civilizations.
During his speech, he said the Incas, Aztecs and Apaches and others has been “idealized by historians and anthropologists”.
Sánchez-Terán, however, preferred to describe those civilizations as “imperialist and bloody”.