MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, August 10th 2022 - 11:52 UTC



Latam leaders in Bolivia support President Morales and blast European countries

Friday, July 5th 2013 - 07:11 UTC
Full article 73 comments
Morales accused Washington and suggested closing down the US embassy in La Paz Morales accused Washington and suggested closing down the US embassy in La Paz

Latin American leaders gathered in Bolivia on Thursday to back President Evo Morales, fuming after some European nations temporarily refused his plane access to their airspace amid suspicions US fugitive Edward Snowden was aboard.

Morales arrived home late Wednesday after a long layover in Vienna, saying his plane was diverted there because it was barred from flying over four European nations, sparking outrage among Latin American leaders.

The Bolivian leader's plane odyssey began hours after Morales declared in Moscow that he would be willing to consider an asylum application from Snowden, who is seeking sanctuary in several Latin American nations to evade US espionage charges.

“Apologies from a country that did not let us pass over its territory are not enough” Morales said before talks with fellow leaders in the central city of Cochabamba. “Some governments apologized, saying it was an error, but this was not an error.”

Presidents Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Jose Mujica of Uruguay and Desi Bouterse of Suriname arrived for the afternoon talks while Argentina's Cristina Kirchner landed later.

”We are in Bolivia to give a hug in solidarity to our brother Evo Morales, to our dear Bolivia, but also to take decisions and show that we won't accept this sort of humiliation against any country of (Latin) America,“ Correa said before arriving.

”Imagine if this happened to a European head of state, if this had happened to the president of the United States. It probably would have been a casus belli, a case for war,“ he said. ”They think they can attack, crush, and destroy international law.“

Maduro said Europe had ”attacked the international immunity that protects a head of state.”

Correa had called for a larger summit gathering leaders of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), but the presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Peru had yet to confirm their attendance, even though they too condemned the incident.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos voiced support for Morales but warned on Twitter against ”converting this into a diplomatic crisis between Latin America and the EU (European Union).“

Bolivian officials accused France, Portugal, Italy and Spain of denying entry to Morales's jet late Tuesday as he flew back home from Russia due to ”unfounded rumors“ Snowden was on board.

Morales has also lashed out at the United States, urging Europeans to ”free themselves from the US empire.“

The US consulate's walls in the city of Santa Cruz were sprayed with red graffiti, one reading ”Gringos Obama out.“ On late Wednesday, some 100 protesters burned flags and threw rocks at the French embassy in the Bolivian capital La Paz, smashing windows.

Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, has applied for asylum in several Latin American nations while waiting in legal limbo in a Moscow airport, trying to escape US justice after leaking details of a vast US phone and Internet surveillance program.

Morales likened described his situation as a ”13-hour kidnapping.“

France since apologized for temporarily refusing entry to Morales's jet, with President Francois Hollande saying there was ”conflicting information“ about the passengers.

The Bolivian government has lodged a complaint with the United Nations and planned another to the UN Human Rights Commission.

”What was the main objective? Just to scare me? Shut me up? Intimidate me? What was the goal?” Morales said.

Russia joined Latin American leaders in condemning France, Spain and Portugal, while Venezuela's Maduro said his government would review relations with Madrid.


Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • LEPRecon

    LATAM leaders showing the world that they are clowns, and not ready to play in the grown up leagues.

    This 'incident' is totally the fault of Bolivia, and LATAM are just embarrassing themselves before the whole world by giving it more attention.

    Jul 05th, 2013 - 08:10 am 0
  • Britworker

    I was thinking that 2013 was going to be a boring year for Latam comedy politics, but just like our British summer, it has arrived late.
    Speaking of arriving late, I wonder why KFC's plane got her to the hugging ceremony late, she would have missed a Botox treatment for an oppurtunity like this.
    I've not heard her come up with a creative Falklands connection to this debacle yet, I'm sure it's coming, she had better hurry though.

    Jul 05th, 2013 - 08:28 am 0
  • Stevie

    Europe is nothing but a bunch of puppet nation to the rogue state that USA is
    From a house with backyard to a shared apartment (with Mexicans). You got to love the route USA is taking :)

    Jul 05th, 2013 - 08:30 am 0
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!