The Search for Snowden: Assaults on Sovereignty and Diplomatic Immunity
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is the international treaty that forms the legal basis for diplomatic immunity. But on July 2ndthe aforementioned NATO countries, most likely led by the US, breached the Convention by colluding to disallow a Bolivian presidential flight into their respective airspace. This was allegedly based on the unfounded suspicion that the flight was transporting US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. President Morales and accompanying Bolivian officials were returning to Bolivia after attending a Forum of Gas Exporting Countries in Russia. Low on fuel, due to rerouting caused by denial of passage through the airspace of the European culprit countries, the Bolivian presidential flight had to make an emergency landing in Vienna, Austria.
This is another one of countless arrogant racist double standards that the US and its NATO allies have demonstrated since the dawn of colonialism and neo-colonialism. The Convention on Diplomatic Relations is supposed to be the framework governing relations between independent countries. It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to perform their functions without fear of coercion or harassment by hosts countries, including free and safe passage via land, sea or air.
While the plane was parked in Vienna, according to President Morales, the Spanish ambassador to Austria arrived with two embassy personnel and asked to search the plane.(1)Admirably exercising an understanding of his sovereign rights as a national official, the indigenous South American leader denied them access and asserted from Vienna Airport, “We won’t be threatened. We are a small country but one with dignity. I say to the European countries, we are not in times of colonization and we won’t be intimidated. This is the time of the peoples.”(2)
Despite the displeasure of European leaders over the disclosure that their US ally has been spying on them as well, their past colonial ties and neo-colonial present remain unquestionably intact.