Snowden, Evo and the Presidential Plane (BIF)

Bolivia Information ForumLink to special July briefing

Snowden, Evo and the Presidential Plane: a Massive Own-Goal

Pro-Evo Morales goverment march 12 October (credit; Dario Kenner)The decision of four European countries – France, Italy, Spain and Portugal – to bar Bolivia’s presidential plane from entering their airspace on the evening of Tuesday, July 2 has caused deep offence, not just in Bolivia but throughout Latin America.  Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca called the incident “an act of aggression”, and the Bolivian foreign ministry has officially denounced the countries involved for breaching international conventions.

Sacha Llorenti, Bolivia’s ambassador at the United Nations, has asked UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon for an explanation as to why the plane was barred from the airspace of these four countries. He said he had “no doubt” that the order had come from the White House.

Evo Morales was aboard the plane returning from an energy summit in Moscow when the French authorities forbade his entry, forcing the plane to divert to Vienna.  It had been scheduled to land in Lisbon for refuelling, but the refuelling stop was refused ‘for technical reasons’.  Morales found himself grounded in Vienna for 15 hours, before finally flying on to La Paz via a refuelling stop in Canarias.  As a condition of being allowed to leave, his plane was subject to a search by the Austrian authorities, itself an illegal act in breach of the Vienna Convention. Continue reading

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