Latin American leaders are meeting to discuss the “hijack” of Bolivian president Evo Morales’ plane in Austria. Regional leaders presented a united front, defending Latin American sovereignty in the face of what they see as post-colonial imperialism.
The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) will hold an
emergency meeting to discuss the EU air blockade that forced the
Bolivian President Evo Morales to land in Austria on Wednesday.
France, Spain, Portugal and Italy all closed their airspace amid
suspicions the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden had stowed away
on board the president’s craft.
The 12 nations that are part of the regional block will have a
ministerial meeting in the Peruvian capital of Lima to discuss
So far Bolivia has already resolved to take an official complaint to the UN over the incident, alleging that the US was undoubtedly the instigator.
"What's at stake here is ... the dignity of Bolivia and the
dignity of Latin America," said Sacha Llorenti Soliz,
Bolivia’s envoy to the UN on Wednesday in Geneva. Bolivian
vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera for his part likened the
incident to an “imperialist hijack.”
In the face of furious rhetoric from Latin America, the EU and US have played down the incident.
The White House has denied any involvement in the grounding of
Morales’ plane, while France has said they revoked the flying
permit because they were not aware it was the president’s plane.
France apologized to Bolivia for closing its airspace to President Morales’ plane, forcing it to make a stopover in Austria.
“The Foreign Minister called his Bolivian counterpart to tell
him about France's regrets after the incident caused by the late
confirmation of permission for President Morales' plane to fly
over (French) territory," French Foreign Ministry’s spokesman
Philippe Lalliot said in a statement.
French President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday that he had opened the airspace to the Bolivian presidential jet as soon as he knew Morales was onboard.
“There was conflicting information about the passengers who were on board,” Hollande noted in Berlin, cited Expatica.com.
A number of Latin American countries have banded together in
there condemnation of the event, but the silence of regional key
players has cast doubt whether their actions will lead to any
Brazilian journalist Mauricio Savarese told RT that the world would likely see a “split” in Latin America between US allies and the anti-American contingent.
“Some countries that are very closely allied to Morales have been very vocal, but many others have kept silence. That’s the case for Chile, Colombia and Brazil, the biggest country in the region,” he told RT. He added that countries closer to Morales like Argentina, Nicaragua and Venezuela were more likely to press the agenda for criticism of the US.
“The posture of Latin America might be of strong criticism on the microphones, but behind the scenes it’s going to be a little more split than it seems,” he said.
Eva Golinger, author and lawyer contradicted this, describing it
as indicative of a “new era of Latin American
RT @RicardoPatinoEC : "Confirmed Meeting of Heads of State of Unasur today, at 4pm in Cochabamba, in solidarity with President Evo Morales"— Cancillería Ecuador (@CancilleriaEc) July 4, 2013
“The 21st century is no longer
the time when the US dominates Latin America or EU countries
colonize Latin America. This is the dawn of a new era of Latin
American sovereignty, dignity and independence,” Golinger told RT. However, she voiced
doubts as to whether the Bolivian appeal to the UN will lead to a
She also told RT’s Spanish channel that there were elements of “discrimination, racism, classism and arrogant imperialist attitudes” in the incident.
“This would not have happened if it had been the plane of a European head of state,” she told RT Actualidad.
Moreover, she said that Latin America could strike at the US and
EU through trade sanctions, saying “those things are what will
have the effect in the long term.”