Rumors that U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden hitched a ride on the Bolivian presidential jet forced the plane’s temporary grounding in Austria and sparked outrage in several South American countries.
The drama unfurled late Tuesday when Portuguese authorities wouldn’t let Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane land in Lisbon for refueling while on his way back from Russia, Bolivian Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra told CNN en Español.
France, Spain and Italy also wouldn’t let the plane enter their airspace, Bolivian officials said. Such restrictions would cut off any direct path from Austria to Bolivia.
“We are told that there were some unfounded suspicions that Mr. Snowden was on the plane,” Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said.
We do not know who has invented this lie. Someone who wants to harm our country. This information that has been circulated is malicious information to harm this country.”
Late Wednesday morning, Spain agreed to let Morales’ plane stop in the Canary Islands on its way home, the Spanish Foreign Ministry said. The plane landed there as planned Wednesday afternoon.
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