In a press conference in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Bolivian Vice President Álvaro García Linera, confirmed the country’s president, Evo Morales, was on his way back to Bolivia after his flight from Moscow had to stop in Austria, allegedly due to suspicion the plane was carrying NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Linera, who was Bolivia’s acting president during Morales’ foreign trip, said he spoke to Morales at 5:30 AM and that Morales “informed us that the flight plan had been authorized.”
Linares said Morales was due to arrive back in La Paz between 7 and 9 PM Wednesday after a refueling stop in the Canary Islands and another stop in Brazil.
According to a summary of the press conference released by the Bolivian government, Linares blamed the “kidnapping” on “imperialist forces” and said Morales was only allowed to return to his country because of international outrage over the incident. He also described it as “one of the most shameful chapters in the political history of some European countries” and accused those countries of violating international conventions on diplomatic flights.
The Bolivian government said France, Portugal, and Italy revoked permission for Morales’ plane to pass through their airspace. Officials from those nations all said the flight was allowed to pass through their territory. According to Austrian officials, Morales allowed the plane to be searched while it was in Vienna.