July 4 - Bolivia's president welcomed home after his plane was denied access to some European airspace amid rumours fugitive Edward Snowden was on board. Paul Chapman reports.
Bolivia's President Evo Morales landed on home soil to warm a welcome from supporters. But he had some harsh words for France and Portugal who refused to let his plane fly through their airpspace because of suspicions fugitive Edward Snowden was on board. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) BOLIVIAN PRESIDENT EVO MORALES SAYING: "This was an open provocation towards a continent - not just to a president. North American imperialism uses its people to terrify and intimidate us. I just want to say they will never intimidate us because we are a people of dignity and sovereignty." Morales, on his way home from a visit to Russia, had to make an unscheduled stop in Austria. The aircraft stayed there for several hours while authorities tried to confirm the whereabouts of the U.S. former spy agency contractor. Snowden is wanted in the U.S. for espionage after he revealed details of secret phone and internet surveillance programmes. France later blamed an administrative mishap and said it hadn't intended to bar Morales from its airspace. But Bolivia says Italy and Spain had also banned his plane from their skies. Bolivian officials have accused the U.S. of strong-arming the Europeans into such a move.