Bolivian President to Sue the U.S. for Crimes against Humanity*
Bolivian President Evo Morales will file a lawsuit against the US government for crimes against humanity. He has decried the US for its intimidation tactics and fear-mongering after the Venezuelan presidential jet was blocked from entering US airspace.
“I would like to announce that we are preparing a lawsuit against Barack Obama to condemn him for crimes against humanity,” said President Morales at a press conference in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz.
He branded the US president as a “criminal” who violates international law.
In solidarity with Venezuela, Bolivia will begin preparing a lawsuit against the US head of state to be taken to the international court. Furthermore, Morales has called an emergency meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to discuss what has been condemned by Venezuela as “an act of intimidation by North American imperialism.”
The Bolivian president has suggested that the members of CELAC withdraw their ambassadors from the US to send a message to the Obama Administration. As an additional measure he will call on the member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas to boycott the next meeting of the UN. Members of the Alliance include Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Saint Lucia.
“The US cannot be allowed to continue with its policy of intimidation and blockading presidential flights,” stressed Morales.
The Venezuelan government announced on Thursday that President Nicolas Maduro’s plane had been denied entry into Puerto Rican (US) airspace.
“We have received the information from American officials that we have been denied travel over its airspace,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said, speaking to reporters during an official meeting with his South African counterpart.
Jaua decried the move “as yet another act of aggression on the part of North American imperialism against the government of the Bolivarian Republic.”
President Maduro was due to arrive in Beijing this weekend for bilateral talks with the Chinese government. Jaua was adamant that the Venezuelan leader would reach his destination, regardless of any perceived interference.
The US government has not yet made any statement regarding the closing of its airspace to the Venezuelan presidential plane. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the US.
Relations on the rocks
Washington’s relations with Latin America have deteriorated since the beginning of the year following the aerial blockade that forced Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane to land in Austria in July. Several EU countries closed their airspace to the presidential jet because of suspicions that former CIA employee Edward Snowden – wanted in the US on espionage charges – was on board. Bolivia alleged that the US was behind the aerial blockade.
In response to the incident, Latin American leaders joined together in condemnation of what they described as “neo-colonial intimidation.”
Later in the year, the revelations on the US’ global spy network released by Edward Snowden did little to improve relations. Leaked wires revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had monitored the private communications of both the Brazilian and Mexican presidents.
The Brazilian government denounced the NSA surveillance as “impermissible and unacceptable,” and a violation of Brazilian sovereignty. As a result of US spying Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has postponed a state visit to Washington in October.
US Denies Visas to Ecuadorian Delegation Attending UN General Assembly
Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry says the US has denied visas to a delegation, which was to travel to the UN General Assembly in New York to present testimony against oil giant Chevron.
In a statement on Friday, the ministry announced that the American Embassy in Quito returned the visas for five Ecuadorian nationals “without any explanation.”
The delegation was scheduled to give testimony during a special event at the UN regarding the environmental impact of the oil giant’s operations in the Ecuadoran region of the Amazon forest.
According to the Ecuadorian government, Chevron is responsible for contaminating two million hectares of the rain forest.
The US oil giant was ordered in 2012 after years of litigation to pay USD 19 billion for polluting the area. However, the oil company has no assets in the Latin American country, which has led the plaintiffs to attempt force payments in Canada, Brazil and Argentina.
Meanwhile, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa launched a campaign last week titled ‘Chevron’s Dirty Hand’, which aims to seek a global boycott of the oil giant based on its refusal to pay the multibillion fines.
At the time of the launch, Correa said the campaign is to “expose to the world Chevron’s multimillion dollar campaign to discredit this country. It is a campaign that involves taking away preferential tariffs, and boycotting international trade with the United States.”
The involvement of the US government in the matter was revealed when WikiLeaks published a diplomatic cable between US officials in Quito in 2006, which indicated that Chevron had asked help on the matter from Washington.
“In previous meetings, Chevron reps have suggested that the [US government] pressure the [Government of Ecuador] to assume responsibility for the environmental damage in the areas once operated by Chevron.… It does not seem likely that any available inducement would convince the [government of Ecuador] to assume what may amount to billions of dollars of environmental liability,” the exposed cable read.
Chevron insists that the company was cleared from any responsibility for the environmental damages in a 1995 cleanup agreement.