News / Americas

    Latin American Leaders Outraged by Treatment of Bolivia in Snowden Affair

    Bolivian President Evo Morales (L) is accompanied by his aide-de-camp at the Vienna International Airport in Schwechat, July 3, 2013.
    Bolivian President Evo Morales (L) is accompanied by his aide-de-camp at the Vienna International Airport in Schwechat, July 3, 2013.
    Reuters
    South American leaders, outraged by the diversion of a Bolivian presidential plane in Europe over the Edward Snowden affair, on Wednesday weighed whether to hold an emergency summit to denounce what some called a U.S.-led act of aggression.
     
    Bolivian President Evo Morales was en route from a conference in Moscow to his home on Tuesday when France and Portugal abruptly banned his plane from their airspace on suspicions it was carrying fugitive U.S. spy agency contractor Snowden, who is wanted by Washington.
     
    The unusual treatment of the Bolivian leader touched a sensitive nerve in the region, which has a history of U.S.-backed coups, and other presidents rallied in support of Morales.
     
    “Definitively, they're all crazy,” Argentine President Cristina Fernandez wrote on her Twitter account after a phone call to Morales, who was stranded in Vienna overnight.
     
    Fernandez described Morales as defiant. “'I'm not a thief,”' she quoted him as saying, although he was unable to prevent Austrian officials from searching his aircraft. Snowden was not onboard.
     
    Nicaragua and Cuban officials also decried the incident.
     
    The 12-nation UNASUR group, which includes leftist leaders of Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina and Bolivia as well as the more moderate Chile and Brazil, issued a statement, calling France's and Portugal's actions “dangerous.”
     
    UNASUR's secretary general said the group was coordinating with member nations to set a date and place for an emergency summit.
     
    Snowden is believed to be still in the transit area of a Moscow airport, where he has been trying since June 23 to find a country that will offer him refuge from prosecution in the United States on espionage charges.
     
    U.S. President Barack Obama has warned that giving Snowden asylum would carry serious costs.
     
    Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia told reporters that Morales had been “kidnapped by the empire.” Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra accused the United States of strong-arming the Europeans into withdrawing the flight permits, although the restrictions were lifted and Morales is now on his way home.
     
    Bolivia has filed a formal complaint with the United Nations and has called in diplomats from the French, Italian and Portuguese embassies in La Paz to demand an explanation.
     
    In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa called the Europeans' actions “extremely grave.”
     
    “We're trying to convene a meeting of ... presidents, and take measures against this affront to Latin America,” he wrote on Twitter. “How they've trampled upon international law!”

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Boxing School in Rio Slum Shows Sport's Power Before Olympics

    For many young residents of the favelas, academy offers glimpse of an alternative: a chance to build discipline and self-esteem through boxing and martial arts

    Smugglers Use Uber-registered Drivers to Move Migrants to US Border

    Vehicles carrying 34 Central American migrants apprehended in June between northern Mexican states of Zacatecas and Coahuila, official says

    Cuban Hip Hop Group Orishas Reunite With Ode to Island

    Reuniting after a seven-year hiatus, emigre group also returning to their roots with new single celebrating their 'Cuba Isla Bella,' and say they hope to launch fourth studio album within a year

    Amid Cuts, Rio Police Ask for Handouts Ahead of Olympics

    Just weeks ahead of the Games, helicopters are grounded, patrol cars are parked, security forces so pressed for funds that some have to beg for donations of pens, cleaning supplies, even toilet paper

    UN: Drought-hit Central America Must Help Farmers Withstand Climate Change

    Aid groups and governments must boost resilience of communities and ‘not settle for simply mounting a humanitarian response every time an emergency situation occurs,’ official says

    Argentine Police Search Ex-president’s Properties

    Investigators seek documents as part of probe into possible corruption by Cristina Fernandez