From WikiLeaks: An American Airlines Crew Is Kicked Out of Venezuela for Calling Hugo Chavez “Crazy” (though they didn’t actually say that…)

A cable in the Wikileaks leak details an incident in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2008 when an American Airlines flight crew was kicked out of Venezuela after a passenger thought he heard the captain say that President Hugo Chavez was crazy.  In reality, upon landing the captain made an announcement, saying, “Welcome to Venezuela.  Local Chavez time is” X.  A passenger on the plane – a friend of a friend of Chavez’, reported that the captain said “loco Chavez time” not “local Chavez time” (Chavez had recently had the clocks in Venezuela set back half an hour).

Venezuelan immigration authorities butchered the whole thing even more when they made a report that the captain said, “the hour of the crazy Chavez and his women,” which doesn’t make any sense at all.

A whole mess of phone calls were made and, in short, the crew offered to get back on the empty plane and leave the country immediately.  Venezuelan officials accepted, and they departed without incident.


  1. A nice Hugo story.

    The worst part is probably that the pax flying the next morning got stranded as their plane and crew had to flee the country.

    If only the pilot had referred to it as the “local anti-imperialism time,” he probably would have gotten a barrio named after himself. Viva Chavez!! (Does that get me a free tank of gas?).

  2. I should have mentioned in the original post that I saw this on

    Also in the Airliners post on the subject, someone noted an old story about a Captain on a flight to Libya telling passengers upon landing to set back their clocks 5,000 years.