Snowden Fall-out: European Denial of Overflight to Bolivian President Angers South America

As Bolivian President Evo Morales was returning from Moscow in a private jet after consultations on energy, his pilot was suddenly informed that France and Portugal had revoked overflight permissions, along with Spain and Italy. Spain ultimately relented, and Morales’s plane refueled there, before heading to Vienna to overnight.

The Bolivian government is furious at the slight to the president, and says there are indications that the Europeans behaved this way because they believed Edward Snowden might be aboard the plane. He was not. (Morales while in Moscow had suggested that his government might look with favor on Snowden’s request for political asylum.) Bolivia says that France and Portugal endangered the life of the president by their action.

Indeed, South America in general is angry about the European high-handedness, which they viewed as an unpleasant reminder of colonialism and discrimination.

Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa said he would call an urgent meeting of the UNASUR regional bloc. He said that he talked by telephone with Morales, who asked him how he was (“He asked how *I* was!”) and said he would not allow a search of his plane: “I am not a thief.”

Aljazeera English reports:

Morales admitted that he discussed the Snowden case with Russian authorities.

But, you ask yourself, how in the world did the United States and its Western European allies know that?

Cenk Uygur of Young Turks reacts:

13 Responses

  1. america seems to be harboring a lot of self-hatred and guilt, given its extreme tendency to create anti-american feeling around the world at an accelerating rate

    • That can morph so nicely into the bully’s reformulation: “Hate me, do they? I’ll give the little __its something to REALLY whine about.”

  2. The Vatican is a sovereign country. Could the Pope bestow a passport? Could he grant asylum? The humanitarian dimension of Snowden’s plight would justify Francis’s intervention.

  3. When French and German leaders ignore or are forced to ignore the opinions of their people, this may be evidence that the diagnosis of declining American power is premature. There is also the probability of European plutocrats willingly collaborating with their American counterparts and telling their political puppets what to do. Why are we spending so much money on our Department of War when economic pressure in foreign affairs seems to be more efficient and effective?

  4. Barack Obama is worse than GW Bush. What I keep wondering is why Biden hasn’t resigned.

    • Biden was probably assigned by the oligarchs in the Democratic (?) Party to mentor Obama. Don’t forget, Biden promoted the bankruptcy law so that banks could charge usurious rates, and he was one of the Democrats’ leading cheerleaders for the war on Iraq.

  5. It is appalling to see that decades after the end of the Cold War, that the Western countries have almost as little effective independence in their affairs, whether external or internal, as did the nations behind the Iron Curtain.

    During the Cold War, the Western countries had all sorts of open disagreements, which never prevented them from cooperating on important matter of mutual interest.

    But where is the “Free World” now? Never have I seen Western “free” countries so frightened of taking even one step out of line with the others.

    Unsurprisingly, the Western countries, with their emphasis on integration and harmonization, show many signs of the sort of malaise and torpor which characterized the bound nations of the Warsaw Pact.

  6. My understanding is that Spain’s offer re: refuelung in Canary Islands came too late so they landed in Austria. Austria claims they were invited to search the plane. Morales denies that he allowed a search. Then the plane continued on to Canary Islands. Conflicting reports now being forgotten with the big news from Egypt.
    The German and French governments have demonstrated how hollow their indignant statements about being spied on really were.

  7. Snowden in an American hero. This guy let us and the world know we are being f$^$ed by the people who confiscate our money under the threat of guns and loss of liberty. We should be celebrating this guy and supporting him in every way we can. This guy is feeling the same wrath as Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. But notice who is the hero now.

  8. ” According to Soldatov, any state can just issue Snowden a passport with another name in it and then, with Russian help, he can travel to his desired destination. ”

    Snowden is the hero of the gangsters and the anti-democrats ” According to government officials and experts interviewed by The Moscow Times, Snowden’s fate is now in the hands of a few countries that can afford the political risk and offer him official legal status, while Russia could continue to support him behind the scenes. ” link to

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