Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, on Saturday said that he would offer Edward Snowden asylum if asked. He joins the presidents of Venezuela and Nicaragua in that offer.
Morales said that he made the decision as a just protest against his own treatment last week, when his jet was denied overflight rights in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy as he returned from energy discussions in Moscow. He was forced to divert to Vienna, and says the Spanish ambassador to Austria demanded to search his plane. Morales implied that the Europeans disrespected him because he is an indigenous Bolivian, and said they sought to humiliate his country after 500 years of looting it. They cannot, he said, because its people have gained a sense of sovereignty and dignity.
Morales is calling the Spanish ambassador to La Paz on the mat. Six South American countries met Thursday and demanded a public apology from the four European governments that tried to block Moraeles.
The US intelligence bright idea of telling Western European allies that Snowden was on the Bolivian jet has therefore backfired. France has hinted that the CIA misled Paris by not telling them it was Morales’s plane they wanted searched.
Snowden, now stuck at Moscow airport, is wanted by the United States government for leaking the PRISM and TEMPORA electronic surveillance programs of the National Security Agency, which involve sweeping up petabytes of contextual data from ordinary people in the US and around the world, in contravention of the Fourth Amendment of the US constitution. The Obama administration says it has to have all this data to fight a handful of terrorists, which is not plausible. The real question is what in the world they are actually doing with it.
Morales in the past has accused the US of attempting to overthrow him and other left of center leaders in South America.