Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 5th 2013 Contents A28
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, July 5, 2013
LA PAZ---The European rerouting
of the Bolivian presidential plane
over suspicions that National Secu-
rity Agency leaker Edward Snow-
den was aboard ignited outrage
Wednesday among Latin American
leaders who called it a stunning
violation of national sovereignty
and disrespect for the region.
President Evo Morales arrived
home after an unplanned 14-hour
layover in Vienna.
Snowden was still believed to be
in the transit area of Moscow s inter-
Morales originally planned to fly
home from a Moscow summit via
Western Europe, stopping in Lisbon,
Portugal and Guyana to refuel. His
plane was diverted to Vienna Tues-
day night after his government said
France, Spain and Portugal all refused
to let it through their airspace
because they suspected Snowden
was on board.
"Spain s ambassador to Austria
even tried to make his way onto the
plane on the pretext of having a cof-
fee to check that Snowden wasn t
there, Morales said.
Austrian officials said Morales
plane was searched early Wednesday
by Austrian border police after
Morales gave permission. Bolivian
and Austrian officials both said
Snowden was not on board.
Bolivia s ambassador to the United
Nations, Sacha Llorenti, said "the
orders came from the United States."
"They want to frighten and intim-
idate me but they won t scare me,"
Morales said before finally taking off
to Spain s Canary Islands and on to
Brazil and then home. "We re not
in colonial or imperial times ... this
is an aggression against Latin Amer-
The presidential plane carrying
Morales arrived in Bolivia s capital
around midnight Wednesday.
Addressing his supporters in the air-
port, he called what had happened
to him "an open provocation to the
Throughout Latin America there
was a sense of deep injustice and
offence at what was widely believed
to be US-prompted interference with
Bolivia s equivalent of Air Force One.
"This is a humiliation for a sister
nation and for the South American
continent," said Cristina Fernandez,
President of Argentina, describing
the plane s rerouting as a "vestige
of the colonialism that we thought
we had completely overcome."
She said Morales "total and indis-
putable" immunity as head of state
had been violated when he was "ille-
gally detained in old Europe."
The US refused to comment on
whether it was involved in any deci-
sion to close European airspace.
European responses shifted
throughout the day.
Spain explicitly denied Bolivian
charges that it had closed its airspace
After initial hedging from France,
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
issued a statement Wednesday night
acknowledging that Morales plane
was initially refused and saying he
called his Bolivian counterpart to
apologise. The statement didn t
Portugal said it had granted per-
mission for the plane to fly through
its air space but declined Bolivia s
request for a refuelling stop in Lisbon
due to unspecified technical reasons.
Shades of outrage were felt across
President Nicolas Maduro of
Venezuela said from the Moscow
summit Tuesday that while "Snow-
den deserves the protection of inter-
national humanitarian law, as a
young man who has spoken a great
truth," he said later that Venezuela
will wait for "the reaction of the
world," to give its final opinion on
the matter, and wasn t considering
any asylum request from Snowden.
Cuba called Morales treatment
"unacceptable, baseless and arbitrary,
and offensive to all of Latin America
and the Caribbean."
Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador
and Chile condemned European
nations handling of the case, with
Brazil expressing "indignation and
condemnation of the restrictions
imposed on President Evo Morales
by some European countries." Mex-
ico s federal government issued a
statement saying it lamented the
way Morales was treated and urged
countries to adhere to "good diplo-
UNASUR, the union of South
American nations, said it had learned
of the situation "with the greatest
Ecuadorean Foreign Minister
Ricardo Patino said the presidents
of Argentina, Venezuela, Peru,
Ecuador, Bolivia, Surinam and pos-
sibly Uruguay will attend a UNASUR
meeting in Cochabamba, Bolivia yes-
Bolivia plane incident infuriates Latin America
Bolivia's president Evo Morales, right, and vice-president Alvaro Garcia
Linera sing the national anthem upon Morales arrival home after an
unplanned 14-hour layover in Vienna, at the airport in El Alto, Bolivia,
Wednesday. AP PHOTO
Links Archive July 4th 2013 July 6th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page