Bolivia Lashes Out Over Snowden Plane Fracas

Evo Morales finally on his way home

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 3, 2013 7:46 AM CDT

(Newser) – A butterfly named Edward Snowden flapped his wings and now the hurricane spreads. Bolivia is this morning tussling with a chunk of Europe after the plane ferrying President Evo Morales home from Russia was forced to touch down in Austria last night amid rumors that Snowden was a passenger. With Morales finally on his way home today, Bolivia's ambassador to the UN had strong words for France and Portugal—and now Spain and Italy. Sacha Llorenti says all four violated international law by denying the plane entry to their airspace, as the president and his plane have immunity, reports the AP. Bolivia's vice president issued the most attention-grabbing quote of the whole fracas, claiming in a midnight press conference that Morales had been "kidnapped by imperialism."

Per Bolivian officials, Spain agreed only to allow the plane to refuel in the Canary Islands, and only after inspectors were permitted on board; they say the other three countries refused it entry to their airspace entirely. French, Spanish, and Portuguese officials today denied the claim, without much elaboration. Morales' plane departed Vienna shortly before noon local time today, but Reuters reports that Austria isn't exactly getting a thank-you from Bolivia, which claims the country forced a search of the plane. But an Austrian official who confirmed Snowden wasn't aboard said Morales OKed the "voluntary inspection," and Glenn Greenwald spoke with an Austrian journalist who claims airport police were allowed to board the plane.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales, center, enters his plane at Vienna's Schwechat airport, Wednesday, July 3, 2013.   (AP Photo/Hans Punz)
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