Latin American anger continues to fester over the Snowden affair. The heads of state of Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay and Suriname closed ranks with Bolivia’s Evo Morales last week. It was a gesture of defiance aimed at Washington, and of disgust with European countries. According to La Paz, they wouldn’t let Morales fly over them because someone suspected the US whistleblower was on board his plane returning from Moscow.
Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez poured scorn on this, saying: “One thinks of the developed nations who invest so much money in their intelligence apparatus and then those security agencies wrongly informed their governments. Evidently, they said in the President’s plane there was a person exercising his right to asylum.”
Edward Snowden began a third week in the transit zone of Moscow’s Cheremetievo Airport on Monday. Hypothetically, he could hop a flight to Venezuela en route to political asylum, with a helping hand from Cuba. It’s just not sure how a commercial airliner would make the crossing without possibly getting snagged by the long arm of the US. There isn’t a direct Moscow-Caracas flight; presumably, Snowden would go via Havana.
When Morales was homeward bound from an energy summit in the Russian capital, he accused the Europeans of refusing his plane access to their airspace, although European versions differ from this. He made a stop in Vienna, where President Heinz Fischer made a media appearance with him, before Morales flew on after a 13-hour wait.
He said: “There has not been an explanation as to why I was not allowed to fly over French, Portuguese or Italian territory – and later Spain, because we have permission to land in the Canary Islands.”
The offence resulting from the ‘confusion’ aroused passions in La Paz, towards the US and EU countries. Washington is determined to get Snowden after he leaked secrets while working as a National Security Agency contractor.