Latin backlash to Obama’s strong-arm politics

First, David Dougherty of The Real News Network reports from La Paz, Bolivia, on the outrage among Latin American countries over the forced grounding in Vienna carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales:

Bolivians Indignant at European Treatment of President Morales

A transcript is posted here.

Besides drawing instant condemnation from other Latin American countries, the grounding of the presidential jet bore fuit in another way today.

From Deutsche Welle:

Bolivia’s president has said he would grant asylum to former US intelligence agency contractor Edward Snowden. The leaders of Nicaragua and Venezuela had said on Friday they would be willing to grant him asylum as well.

After apparently languishing for almost two weeks in the transit area of Moscow’s main international airport, Snowden now has considerably more options, thanks to Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega.

Bolivia has “no fear” of the US and its European allies, Morales said Saturday, referring to an incident earlier this week when his own plane was denied airspace by multiple countries and forced to land in Austria, apparently on suspicions that the president himself was harboring Snowden. Morales continued that Bolivia would “give asylum to the American if he asks.”

Read the rest.

Recorded before the asylum announcement, this episode of Al Jazeera’s
Inside Story look at the jet grounding and its consequences through three distinct viewpoints, one of particular interest.

Inside Story : Americas – Grounded by Snowden?

Host Shihab Rattansi brings together an interesting panel comprised of

  • Diana Villiers Negroponte, trade law specialist, law prof, Brookings Institution senior fellow specializing in Latin America, and British-born blue-blooded spouse of former Deputy Secretary of State and Director of National Intelligence James Negroponte,
  • Keane Bhatt, writer and editor for the North American Congress of Latin American Report, and
  • Gerardo Munck, professor of Latin American politics at the University of Southern California.

Negroponte said that the incident made some impact in South America, particularly among allies of the Bolivarian movement, it has no lasting meaning.

Bhatt disagrees, noting the apparent role played by the U.S. in leading the Spanish ambassador to demand to search Morales plane after it was forced to land in Austria after other nations denied landing rights — a breach of international law.

Munck notes that this is the first time UNASUR has issued a declaration concerning an external power, and that condemnation also came with an eminently reasonable demand for explanation, including the origin of the orders for force Morales’ plain down in Vienna.

Negroponte agreed that the plane grounding was a breach on international law, but, in the end, what could they actually do?

Bhatt points to the skewing of stories by mainstream media in the U.S. Europe to suggest that Latin American governments had been wavering on support for Snowden’s pleas for asylum.

Note the particular manners of dress of the four participants, with three hewing closely to a theme, while Negroponte, despite her shellacked and leonine mane, appears casually dressed indeed, as though for a picnic.

Munck points out that granting asylumn could come with costs in the form of sanctions from the U.S.

I would note that a dear friend says we shouldn’t mention Negroponte’s spouse and instead allow folks to judge her on her own merits. But long-time practice of in-depth journalism has left us with the distinct impression that familial relations are often very important in understanding power and its relations. But we raise her point for your consideration.

Finally, a video from RT:

Bolivian president threatens to close US embassy

The program notes:

Earlier this week, Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane was downed in Austria after suspicion that NSA leaker Edward Snowden was onboard attempting to avoid extradition to the US. It turned out that Snowden wasn’t on board and now Morales has gathered the support of several South American presidents in asking for an apology from the European countries involved in the matter. Margaret Howell has more.


One response to “Latin backlash to Obama’s strong-arm politics

  1. Do we have to leave it up to Foreign Nations to stand up for international law which include unlawful searches and seizures in Vienna.

    Let us face it the 4th Amendment in USA is only a myth and is long gone.

    The American people are asleep as Obama, US Supreme Court and Congress takes away any rights.

    Totalitarianism which is upon us – is nothing but a drag and a drone.

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