Latin America in row over Bolivia jet


Latin American leaders have demanded an apology from four EU nations after they allegedly closed their airspace to the Bolivian President’s jet over suspicions it was harbouring the US fugitive Edward Snowden, infuriating the President who today threatened to shut down the US embassy in La Paz.

President Evo Morales has accused Italy, France, Spain and Portugal of acting as “agents” of the US, after he was forced to re-route to Vienna on Tuesday night as he returned home from Russia.

Bolivian diplomats claim that the US wanted the presidential plane searched after Mr Morales commented on a trip to Moscow that Bolivia may consider offering asylum to Mr Snowden, a former NSA contractor who is wanted for questioning in America after leaking details of a US espionage programme.

“We met the leaders of my party and they asked us for several measures and, if necessary, we will close the embassy of the United States,” Mr Morales said.

While France has apologised, Spain yesterday said it saw no reason to do so as it denied closing its airspace to Mr Morales’ plane.

The leftist leaders of Argentina, Ecuador, Suriname, Venezuela and Uruguay put out a statement yesterday accusing the US and Europe of disrespecting Latin American sovereignty.

“The leaders and authorities in Europe have to take a lesson in history and understand that we’re not 500 years behind – this Latin America of the 21st century is independent, dignified and sovereign,” said the Ecuadorean President, Rafael Correa.