Bolivia May Close the US Embassy (Video)
On July 2nd, Bolivian Air Force One, with the country’s President Evo Morales in it, was forced to make a u-turn over Europe after it was apparently barred from flying through French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish airspace following suspicions that US fugitive Edward Snowden was on board.
President Evo Morales claims the US pressured European countries to deny the plane flyover permission, after the Bolivian president said casually in Moscow that if Snowden was to apply for asylum, his case would be considered.
According to the BBC, Mr Morales said:
‘My hand would not shake to close the US embassy. We have dignity, sovereignty. Without the United States, we are better politically and democratically.’
Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, told the media that Spain and other European countries were told that US whistle-blower Edward Snowden was on board the Bolivian president’s plane, but he would not say who gave out the information.
Since the incident France has publicly apologized from Bolivia, and the South American Bloc, including the leaders of Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina and Uruguay had an emergency meeting in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to address the diplomatic row. Latin American leaders criticized the decision severely, and asked for explanations from the international community.
Morales, responding to France apology, said, “apologies are not enough because the stance is that international treaties must be respected”. He also added that he never saw Snowden when he was in Russia, and Bolivia had not received a formal request from him for asylum.
A group of demonstrators marched on the French embassy in La Paz on Wednesday, burning the French flag and demanding the expulsion of the ambassador to Bolivia.
The US state department has not yet issued a formal statement on the latest claims, saying only that Washington had “been in touch with a broad range of countries” over the Snowden case.
On June 27th, US President Barack Obama said he’s not going to take extraordinary measures to capture him. He told reporters during a news conference in Senegal, his first stop on a tour of several African nations, “I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.”
Video credit: EuroNews