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Morales accuses U.S. of plot to intimidate

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, July 4, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Thursday that the rerouting of his plane over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was on board was a plot by the United States to intimidate him and other Latin American leaders.

Morales, long a fierce critic of U.S. policy toward Latin America, received a hero's welcome from a crowd in La Paz airport Wednesday night.

His return followed a dramatic, unplanned 14-hour layover in Vienna that ignited an international diplomatic row. Bolivia's government said France, Spain and Portugal refused to let the president's plane through their airspace, forcing it to land in Austria. He was flying home from a summit in Russia.

Latin American leaders were outraged by the incident, calling it a violation of national sovereignty and a slap in the face for a region that has suffered through humiliations by Europe and several U.S.-backed military coups. Several South American presidents were headed to the Bolivian city of Cochabamba on Thursday to show their support for the leftist leader.

Meanwhile, Icelandic lawmakers introduced a proposal in Parliament on Thursday to grant immediate citizenship to Snowden, who admits to revealing key details of surveillance activities.

Ogmundur Jonasson, whose Left-Green Party is backing the proposal along with the Pirate Party and Brighter Future Party, put the issue before the Judicial Affairs Committee, but the idea received minimal support.

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