"Welcome to Venezuela. Local Chavez time is ..."
If you remember, back in 2007, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, decided to arbitrarily create his own personal time-zone by permanently turning the clock back a half hour; simply because he could. And, as those of us who travel by air well know, passengers are always informed of the local time upon arrival at our destination. However, according to the cable, one Chavez groupie passenger, Nestor Maldonado Lanza, thought he heard "loco" instead of "local". For those of you who might not know Spanish, "loco" means crazy, which (ironically) Chavez is, but that's beside the point. Incensed at this perceived insult, Lanza immediately told National Assemblyman Carlos Echezuria Rodriguez (who was waiting for him at the airport) about these terrible Americans who had called his beloved Presidente "loco". The Deputy, in turn, called Vice President Carrizales, and from there it almost spiralled out of control- all because of one misinterpreted word.
Omar Nottaro, American Airlines Country Manager, managed to extricate the crew from what could have turned into an international incident, by some deft diplomacy which included apologies to various entities and off they went. Frankly, there should have been no need for apologies but when you are dealing with people like Chavez (who is clearly not in his right mind) and his minions, it's best to placate.
And apparently it wasn't an isolated incident- the cable also briefly mentions a Delta flight that had similar problems in Caracas.