Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Global Impact: Update--South American MERCOSUR Trade Bloc Recalls Ambassadors

According to EFE, The countries included in the South American trade bloc, MERCOSUR, concurred in Friday's meeting in Montevideo to recall the ambassadors to Spain, France, Italy and Portugal to protest last week’s forced diversion of the presidential aircraft of Bolivian President Evo Morales to Vienna whereby Austrian official searched Morales' plane for fugitive American Edward Snowden.

The decision was taken by Argentine President Cristina Fernández, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and Uruguay’s President José Mujica, as well as Bolivia’s Evo Morales, the latter of whom is in the process of joining the bloc.

The countries expressed total condemnation for the “actions of the governments of France, Portugal, Spain and Italy” in barring Morales’ plane from their airspace as he was returning to Bolivia after attending a conference in Moscow.

COMMENT: Morales’ aircraft spent 13 hours on the ground in Vienna as Austrian officials searched the plane for former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who has released documents exposing Washington’s pervasive surveillance of global telephonic and Internet communications, and has been stuck in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport since June 23.

The diversion to Vienna came after several European countries ordered Morales’ plane away from their airspace, apparently suspecting that Snowden was on board.

It should be noted that Spain later apologized for denying Morales' aircraft from landing, to no avail.