Bolivia's VP Says Morales was "Kidnapped by Imperialism"

Created: 2013-07-03 17:15 EST

Category: World > South America
Bolivia's Vice President said on Tuesday (July 2) that President Evo Morales had been "kidnapped" after his plane was diverted on a flight from Russia and forced to land in Austria.
The diversion was over suspicions that Edward Snowden might be on board.
Alvaro Garcia Linera denounced France and Portugal for cancelling air permits for Morales' plane, forcing the unscheduled stopover in Vienna.
[Alvaro Garcia Linera, Bolivia's Vice President]:
"This is in absolute violation of the Vienna Convention, which says that flights of world presidents cannot be obstructed and have immunity. A couple of European governments prohibited the plane of President Evo from passing through their air space. We want to say to all the people of the world that the plane of President Morales has been kidnapped by imperialism." 
The Bolivian Defence Minister says the U.S. State Department may have been behind the decisions to not allow Morales' plane to land in Portugal or fly over French air space.
There was no evidence that Snowden—wanted by Washington for espionage after divulging classified details of U.S. phone and Internet surveillance—had left Moscow's airport.
Bolivia is among more than a dozen countries where Snowden has sought asylum and Morales says he would consider granting the American refuge if requested.
[Alvaro Garcia Linera, Bolivia's Vice President]:
"We call on the people of Latin America, the progressive governments to speak. We ask the people of Latin America and the governments to hold an emergency meeting to take a position on this abuse. Latin America is being trampled, not only Bolivia—the smallest country—but the country with the greatest fight on the continent." 
Snowden's options seem only to have narrowed since he arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23 with no valid travel documents, after the United States revoked his passport.
U.S. President Barack Obama has warned that an offer of asylum from a country would carry serious costs.
Five countries have rejected granting Snowden asylum, seven have said they would consider a request if made on their soil, and eight said they had not made a decision.