That led Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca to note that the refusals of Portugal and France put at risk the life of the president.
Through the night, photos of Morales wandering the Austrian airport were posted online. Hes shown giving a news conference and watching one taking place in Bolivia. His crew is shown sleeping in chairs.
He reportedly met with Austrian President Heinz Fischer. Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Karl Heinz Grundboeck said an airport security officer was allowed to walk through the jet to look for Snowden. He said he couldnt confirm reports that the U.S. Embassy in Austria had asked for help in capturing Snowden.
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said during an interview on Spanish national television that We were told that Snowden was inside. I can work with the data they give me. . . . They said they were clear he was inside.
According to news reports, Morales plane was refueled and left Vienna at 11:52 a.m. Wednesday, meaning a stay of nearly 13 hours at the airport, which Bolivian officials likened to imperialist kidnapping.
Garcia-Margallo wouldnt say who they were, though when he was asked why European nations had acted the way they did he said, The reactions of European countries were because the information they gave us was that (Snowden) was inside. We measured the risk. But once I had written assurance that Mr. Snowden was not on the plane . . . I believe in the word of a friendly nation, and Bolivia is a friendly nation.
By this time, either because the initial refusals had been a mistake, as France claimed, were for technical reasons Portugal said its airport didnt have a stairway capable of serving the presidential jet or were due to international pressure, Morales jet was allowed to continue over Europe to the Canary Islands, where it refueled before heading home.
Morales jet touched down in La Paz late Wednesday. With time differences, the flight lasted more than a day and half. Morales anger clearly hadnt diminished by Friday, however, when, with the backing of several other South American leaders, he laid the blame on the United States.
Being united will defeat American imperialism, he said. If necessary, we will close the embassy of the United States. We do not need the embassy of the United States.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had the wrong length of time that Bolivian President Evo Morales was in Vienna and the wrong time that his plane left there. This version also has been revised to make clear that the aircraft was registered to the Bolivian government.