M/cloudy
62°
M/cloudy
Hi 84° | Lo 64°

Bolivia’s Morales says U.S. aimed to intimidate

  • Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, center, waves to journalists upon his arrival to the airport accompanied by Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, right, and Bolivia's Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Correa said that the situation lived by Bolivian President Evo Morales is very serious and is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to discuss the rerouting of Morales' plane in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

    Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, center, waves to journalists upon his arrival to the airport accompanied by Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, right, and Bolivia's Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Correa said that the situation lived by Bolivian President Evo Morales is very serious and is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to discuss the rerouting of Morales' plane in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

  • Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro reviews a honor guard upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Maduro is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to show support for Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose plane was rerouted in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro reviews a honor guard upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Maduro is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to show support for Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose plane was rerouted in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

  • Ecuador's President Rafael Correa speaks upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Correa said that the situation lived by Bolivian President Evo Morales is very serious and is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to discuss the rerouting of Morales' plane in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

    Ecuador's President Rafael Correa speaks upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Correa said that the situation lived by Bolivian President Evo Morales is very serious and is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to discuss the rerouting of Morales' plane in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

  • Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, front left, reviews an honor guard upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Maduro is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to show support for Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose plane was rerouted in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, front left, reviews an honor guard upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Maduro is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to show support for Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose plane was rerouted in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

  • Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Maduro is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to show support for Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose plane was rerouted in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Maduro is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to show support for Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose plane was rerouted in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

  • Bolivia's President Evo Morales speaks upon his arrival home after an unplanned 14-hour layover in Vienna, at the airport in El Alto, Bolivia, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. The European rerouting of the Bolivian presidential plane over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was aboard ignited outrage Wednesday among Latin American leaders who called it a stunning violation of national sovereignty and disrespect for the region. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

    Bolivia's President Evo Morales speaks upon his arrival home after an unplanned 14-hour layover in Vienna, at the airport in El Alto, Bolivia, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. The European rerouting of the Bolivian presidential plane over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was aboard ignited outrage Wednesday among Latin American leaders who called it a stunning violation of national sovereignty and disrespect for the region. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

  • Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, center, waves to journalists upon his arrival to the airport accompanied by Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, right, and Bolivia's Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Correa said that the situation lived by Bolivian President Evo Morales is very serious and is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to discuss the rerouting of Morales' plane in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
  • Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro reviews a honor guard upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Maduro is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to show support for Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose plane was rerouted in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
  • Ecuador's President Rafael Correa speaks upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Correa said that the situation lived by Bolivian President Evo Morales is very serious and is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to discuss the rerouting of Morales' plane in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
  • Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, front left, reviews an honor guard upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Maduro is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to show support for Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose plane was rerouted in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
  • Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks upon his arrival to the airport in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Thursday, July 4, 2013. Maduro is in Cochabamba for an extraordinary meeting of South American leaders to show support for Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose plane was rerouted in Europe, over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
  • Bolivia's President Evo Morales speaks upon his arrival home after an unplanned 14-hour layover in Vienna, at the airport in El Alto, Bolivia, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. The European rerouting of the Bolivian presidential plane over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was aboard ignited outrage Wednesday among Latin American leaders who called it a stunning violation of national sovereignty and disrespect for the region. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

Bolivian President Evo Morales said yesterday that the rerouting of his plane over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board was a plot by the United States to intimidate him and other Latin American leaders.

Morales, a fierce critic of U.S. policy toward Latin America, received a hero’s welcome from a cheering crowd in La Paz airport late Wednesday night.

His return followed a dramatic, unplanned 14-hour layover in Vienna that ignited an international diplomatic row. Bolivia’s government said France, Spain and Portugal refused to let the president’s plane through their airspace, forcing it to land in Austria. He was flying home from a summit in Russia.

Latin American leaders were outraged by the incident, calling it a violation of national sovereignty and a slap in the face for a region that has suffered through humiliations by Europe and several U.S.-backed military coups. Several South American presidents were headed to the Bolivian city of Cochabamba yesterday to show their support for the leftist leader.

Morales said the incident involving his plane was a provocation to the region, and he urged European nations to “free themselves” from the U.S. “The United States is using its agent (Snowden) and the president (of Bolivia) to intimidate the whole region,” he said.

Bolivian government officials have repeatedly said they believe that Washington was behind the incident.

France sent an apology to the Bolivian government. But Morales said “apologies are not enough because the stance is that international treaties must be respected.”

Spain’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said his country did not forbid Morales’s president from landing in its territory.

Amid the tensions, the U.S. embassy in La Paz canceled Independence Day celebrations scheduled for yesterday. In the eastern city of Santa Cruz, Bolivian government sympathizers painted protest slogans on the doors of the American consulate.

Morales said he never saw Snowden when he was in Russia, and that Bolivia had not received a formal request for asylum for him. While still in Russia he had suggested that he was willing to consider giving Snowden asylum in Bolivia.

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has said that the presidents of Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Suriname and possibly Uruguay will attend the summit in Cochabamba to discuss the matter. Bolivia said earlier it also would summon the French and Italian ambassadors and the Portuguese consul to demand explanations.

Despite the complaints, there were no signs that Latin American leaders were moving to bring Snowden to the region that had been seen as the most likely to grant him asylum.

Presidents from Colombia, Chile and Peru, who have strong ties to the U.S., will be absent from the summit.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he supports Morales, but asked other leaders to remain cool and avoid an escalating dispute between Latin America and the European Union.

“We’re in solidarity with Evo Morales because what they did to him is unheard-of, but let’s not let this turn into a diplomatic crisis for Latin America and the EU,” Santos wrote yesterday on Twitter.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.