Bolivian President Evo Morales indicated on Tuesday that he might be interested in giving NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum. As thanks, the leader's plane from Russia home to Bolivia was refused entry to France and Portugal's airspace, allegedly because the countries thought Snowden might be hitching a ride back. Morales is now spending the night in Austria, and Snowden is, apparently, still in the Moscow airport. Neither France nor Portugal have commented, so far.
Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca had some strong words for the countries after the president's unplanned landing in Austria (via Reuters):
"They say it was due to technical issues, but after getting explanations from some authorities we found that there appeared to be some unfounded suspicions that Mr. Snowden was on the plane ... We don't know who invented this lie," he said.
"We want to express our displeasure because this has put the president's life at risk."
Wikileaks was pretty peeved, too:
The reported actions of France, Portugal and Spain this night will live in infamy.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 2, 2013
Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua also jumped in to comment. Venezuela is one of the other countries reportedly considering Snowden's asylum request:
"All the countries that have denied permission for the flight of our brother president, Evo Morales, must be held responsible for his life and his dignity as president."
Morales was in Moscow for a summit of gas exporters, but he made headlines for a hint during an interview with Russian television that he'd consider Snowden's request, one of 21 the former contractor made in the wake of his flight from the U.S. to Hong Kong to Moscow. And while his options are dwindling as countries distance themselves from the leaker (and from Wikileaks, who have helped Snowden with his asylum quest), Bolivia suddenly became his latest best chance.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.