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Fury After Bolivian President's Plane Forced to Land over Snowden Suspicions
Wikileaks: 'The reported actions of France, Portugal and Spain this night will live in infamy'
The plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to land in Austria Wednesday over rumors that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board.
While attending an energy conference in Russia this week, Morales said he would consider granting asylum to Snowden if requested.
Portuguese and French authorities wouldn't let the plane land in their territories, Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca told reporters.
The reported actions of France, Portugal and Spain this night will live in infamy.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 2, 2013
"We are told that there were some unfounded suspicions that Mr. Snowden was on the plane," Choquehuanca said. "We do not know who has invented this lie. Someone who wants to harm our country. This information that has been circulated is malicious information to harm this country."
"This is a lie, a falsehood," he said. "It was generated by the U.S. government."
Bolivia's air travel rights were violated, he said.
"It is an outrage. It is an abuse. It is a violation of the conventions and agreements of international air transportation," he said.
Choquehuanca said that the move had put the president's life at risk.
"Portugal owes us an explanation. France owes us an explanation," Choquehuanca said.
@HayesBrown Refusing to allow a president's plane to cross airspace to deny asylum rights is rogue nation behavior.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 2, 2013
Bolivian Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra said the U.S. State Department may have been behind the decisions to not allow Morales' plane to land in Portugal or fly over French air space.
"We have the suspicion that they (the two European governments) were used by a foreign power, in this case the United States, as a way of intimidating the Bolivian state and President Evo Morales," he said.