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NATO Against Evo Morales

Above photo: Evo Morales’s plane forced to land in Austria for fuel.

Those who only read the title of this article may find it overstated or exaggerated. However, remembering  10 years ago an episode that put the whole planet on alert, you will realize that the title is appropriate.

Evo Morales was in Moscow, attending the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries. On July 2, 2013, he boarded the FAB 001 presidential plane to return to Bolivia. While he was flying through European skies, in a flight that seemed routine, Portugal, Spain, Italy and France set up an impassable siege, abruptly canceling the flight permits they had previously granted.

The plane only had enough fuel to reach the Canary Islands, where it was to refuel. The pilots were forced to search for a nearby airport and were able to make an emergency landing in neutral Austria. The plane remained in Vienna for 14 hours. Edward Snowden was presumed to be on board.

A few weeks earlier, the world’s leading media published the revelations of US contractor Snowden, who provided more than 200,000 documents on the multiple extraterritorial tentacles of espionage that the US deploys around the planet.

Snowden, employed by the US intelligence agency NSA (National Security Agency), summoned journalists in Hong Kong. There he revealed the chilling scale of the vast network of interception of all – yes, all – digital, radio, analog communications with sensors and submarine cables, and the storage of all – yes, all – emails, audios, videos, photographs, location, contacts, documents and passwords of billions of users of the main Internet and telephone companies and platforms.

The excuse for such a tremendous spying system was the fight against terrorism. However, Snowden’s revelations made it possible to prove that it was also used to gain advantages in commercial, industrial or military negotiations. Thus, it was discovered that they also spied, for example, on President Dilma Rouseff or Chancellor Angela Merkel, in violation of international law.

Snowden left Hong Kong and was wandering in the transit room of the Moscow airport for 40 days, because the US invalidated his passport and he was waiting for some country to grant him asylum. The U.S. and its allies assumed he would have boarded the Bolivian presidential plane seeking asylum. Snowden was not on the plane, but it would have been Bolivia’s right to provide him with protection.

It would be naïve to assume that the decision to prevent, in mid-flight, the passage of a presidential plane, with the president on board, with the aircraft and passenger protected with the clearest diplomatic immunities, would not have been taken at the highest level. Those responsible for this most serious attack were: Nobel Peace Prize winner and US President Barack Obama; Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy; French President Francoise Hollande; Social Democrat Passos Coelho, Prime Minister of Portugal; and Enrico Letta, Prime Minister of Italy.

On the other side of the coin, the South American response was exemplary: led by Rafael Correa, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Nicolás Maduro, Unasur held an emergency meeting, Mercosur agreed to recall its ambassadors for consultations. Also, at the UN headquarters, two thirds of the States, grouped in the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77, condemned the aggression.

Surely in these times, the means of espionage are much more sophisticated, but two unavoidable lessons remain: for the powerful, rules are worthless and for the peoples, the only possible path is unity.

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