14ymedio, Havana, 5 August 2020 — The Spanish ambassador in Cuba, Juan Fernández Trigo, planned to verbally admonish, this Wednesday, the person in charge of several tweets published on the Twitter account of the consulate in Havana, as explained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Spanish newspaper 20 Minutos. On Tuesday, several users and independent media denounced the Twitter responses to some citizens who inquired about administrative procedures.
“Those tweets were deleted when they were detected. Today the ambassador is going to admonish the author and is going to issue an apology through Twitter for the content of the messages,” Ministry sources told the newspaper.
This Wednesday morning, the consulate’s account sent the following tweet: “The @ConsEspLaHabana wishes to apologize for any inconvenience in communication that may have occurred in exchanges via this channel. Today more than ever, our priority is service and quality assistance to citizens.”
The controversy was demonstrated in one exchange: “Good afternoon. When the service is reactivated, would it be possible to request an appointment for a tourist visa and another for family reunification in the name of the same person? Or would both be canceled by doing it this way? Thank you. Greetings,” a user politely asked this Tuesday.
The interested party’s attitude was not reciprocated, but rather he received: “You cannot have everything in this life,” in response to his request.
To another user who asked about an appointment scheduled on August 14 for family reunification, the consulate account wrote: “Your appointment is canceled and you should wait for our announcement about restoration of services.”
“And if the appointments are resumed before the 14th, could I bring a relative to the appointment?” the woman responded.
“It is can-cel-ed,” the consulate rudely replied.
“Good afternoon! And is it possible to make an appointment by email to apply for a study visa? Thank you,” asks another young man. “Well, of course NO. Please read,” the consulate account warrants. The person responsible for the account did not hesitate to criticize the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations (Minrex): “If Minrex does not work to fulfill the requirements, why do they demand that we work so much?”
According to the Basic Statute of the Public Employee in Spain, the official may have incurred a fault that could be considered very serious if the discredit to the public image of the Administration is taken into account.
Depending on the scope of the offense, the worker faces measures ranging from a warning to forced transfer or disciplinary dismissal, which implies disqualification from public service, although this sanction is reserved for the most extreme cases. In addition, recidivism and intentionality work as aggravating circumstances, something that does seem to correspond to the case of the embassy’s head of networks.
In Spain, the Ciudadanos (Citizens) party issued a question to the Bureau of Congress with regards to what it described as an “incredible, rude and crass way” of addressing citizens by the diplomatic headquarters in Cuba: “Does the Government of Spain believe that a consulate can respond to the citizens with these formulas?” ask the deputies who sign the document. “What steps is the Government of Spain taking to find out why these responses were given and to repair the personal and reputation damages they may have caused?” they continue.
And they conclude their demand: “Does the Government consider that communication via social networks is part of foreign institutional communication and public diplomacy and affects the image of our country abroad? Who does it depend on and what mechanisms does it have to supervise it?”
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