Update: Italy and Spain have also been confirmed as states that refused passage above their airspace to Bolivia's Morales on suspicions of harboring a patriot.
Moments ago a rather surreal episode of international diplomacy, or rather lack thereof, took place when the airplane of Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to land in Austria over suspicions that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board, a claim Bolivian authorities denied. The reason: France and Portugal reportedly refused to allow the flight to cross their airspace due to concerns that Snowden may have been aboard the plane. It is what international law allows countries to deny their airspace to presidents of sovereign countries, when the only transgression is unproven speculation of harboring a whistleblower. Of course, with both insolvent countries bent over and in dire need of some all too precious Uncle Sam liquidity, we can see how they would do anything and everything to gain some favor with Obama.
Per RT, David Choquehuanca, the Bolivian Foregin Minister, refuted the idea Snowden was on the plane, saying "we don’t know who invited this lie, but we want to denounce to the international community this injustice with the plane of President Evo Morales."
Others in South America are also angry, with Ecuador foreign affairs minister Ricardo Patino taking the lead:
- ECUADOR NOT SEEKING SPY PROGRAM DETAILS FROM SNOWDEN: PATINO
- ECUADOR WON'T TRADE FAVORS WITH U.S. ON SNOWDEN ASYLUM: PATINO
- SOUTH AMERICA MUST 'REACT' TO BOLIVIA TREATMENT: PATINO
- U.S. PROTECTING ECUADOR FUGITIVES: PATINO
Then again, Ecuador's indignation would carry some actual weight if the country, which originally was supposed to be Snowden's final asylum retreat, hadn't mysteriously folded like a cheap lawn chair following Joe Biden's brief but focused visit.
Expect more indignation from all sides, and more diverted flights, until the Snowden story reaches it predictably sad resolution.
Finally, we would not want to be an international precious metal miner in Bolivia right now (wink wink Pan American Silver Corp, Sumitomo - which operates the third largest silver mine in the world at San Cristobal - and assorted peers).