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article imageOp-Ed: Bolivia claims that US tried to 'kidnap' president Morales

By Ken Hanly     Jul 4, 2013 in Politics
Quito - After France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy denied permission for a plane carrying Bolivian president Evo Morales to pass through their air space, the plane was redirected and had to land in Vienna.
Bolivia said that incident was an act of aggression and a violation of international law. Apparently, the US was suspicious that the plane carrying Morales was taking whistle blower Edward Snowden to Bolivia as a refugee.
An Austrian official claims that Snowden was not on the plane when it landed in Vienna. The Bolivian plane was taking Morales back to Bolivia from an energy conference in Moscow. Austrian Deputy Chancellor Michael Spindelegger said that Morales personally denied that Snowden was aboard and also agreed to a voluntary inspection. Spindelegger said: "Based on this invitation from Bolivia, a colleague boarded the plane, looked at everything and there was no one else on board," The Bolivian Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra claimed that Morales had refused Austrian authorities entry and the plane was not searched. I expect that it is the Bolivians who are lying and are just trying to save face. This is confirmed by a report in the Guardian: Forced to land in Vienna, left waiting on the tarmac and only allowed to leave after half a day – the treatment of Evo Morales has stirred up fury in Latin America, a region that has long bristled at the bullying of the US and double standards of its former colonial masters in Europe. The BBC also reports that Morales' plane was searched after receiving permission from the Bolivians.
The Bolivian ambassador to the UN, Sacha Soliz, expressed outrage: "We're talking about the president on an official trip after an official summit being kidnapped, We have no doubt that it was an order from the White House. By no means should a diplomatic plane with the president be diverted from its route and forced to land in another country."
The US has advised foreign governments that allow Snowden to land on their territory that such action could cause serious damage to their relations with the US, according to European national security sources. The US has also advised countries against giving asylum to Snowden. It would seem that Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy take these threats seriously. France has since apologized to Bolivia for its action.
The South American Unasur bloc that promotes trade and cooperation among Latin American government demanded an explanation of these "unfriendly and unjustifiable acts". There was to be a meeting of the group to discuss the incident.
The secretary general of the Organisation of American States Jose Insulza also condemned the actions of the countries who refused to allow Morales' plane through their airspace saying that "Nothing justifies an action as disrespectful to the highest authority of a country." The Argentine president Cristina de Kirchner said that the level of impunity for Morales' treatment was unprecedented. The Uruguayan president was also indignant and Venezuela was furious.
The politicians and commentators in Latin America are just adding this incident to a long list of arrogant interventions by the US into Latin American affairs including support for Augusto Pinochet who ousted a democratically elected president and support for dictators in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and elsewhere.
To add insult to injury Ecuador reports the discovery of a bug in its London embassy where Julian Assange of Wikileaks is being held. While Ecuador was thought of first as a destination for Snowden as well, it seems clear that Rafael Correa had changed his mind after a phone call from Joe Biden. Ecuador uses the US dollar as its currency. America acts as it if it is beyond international law. In order to prevent people from knowing what its spies are up to, it is willing to harass any country that shows the slightest interest in providing refuge to the whistle blower Edward Snowden.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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