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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

China's Xi Praises Close Ties with Cuba

Head of China's Communist Party hails common socialist bond between his country and Cuba as he kicks off a state visit in Havana
More

US Judge Orders Argentina, Creditors to Reach Deal

Lawyers for investors who declined to restructure bonds after country defaulted on about $100 billion in 2002 are warned that time is running out to reach a deal, avert fresh default
More

Trial Imminent for Detained Venezuelan Protest Leader Lopez

Lopez's wife, Lilian Tintori, says outside pressure needed on Venezuelan president to move case forward
More

Sex Workers Seek HIV Prevention

The Lancet publishes new series on HIV
More

Texas Gov. Perry Orders State National Guard to Border

Governor says he took extraordinary measure to help secure the border, his critics say it is a political stunt
More

Cuba Hopes for More Investment as Chinese President Arrives

Chinese President Xi Jinping begins a two-day visit to Cuba on Monday evening
More