NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been offered asylum in three latinamerican nations
: Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Bolivian president Evo Morales made it clear that his country's offer was directly inspired by the grounding of his presidential jet on the way back from a meeting in Russia (the US authorities and several European nations collaborated to force a landing and search of the president's jet in Austria, on the belief that Snowden was aboard). There has been no public response from Snowden.
The Spanish foreign minister says Spain and other European countries were told that US whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board the Bolivian president's plane earlier this week. Evo Morales' plane was grounded for 13 hours in Austria after being banned from European airspace. Who's responsible? No one's saying. Yet. [BBC News]
"Europe broke all the rules of the game," Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said shortly after arriving at the Cochabamba airport. "We're here to tell President Evo Morales that he can count on us. Whoever picks a fight with Bolivia, picks a fight with Venezuela." [Reuters]
South American leaders are furious over the plane grounding incident, which they believe was the work of US government officials. "The presidents of Argentina, Ecuador, Suriname, Venezuela and Uruguay joined Morales in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba late Thursday to address the diplomatic row. Morales used the gathering to warn that he would close the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia if necessary." [NYT]
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