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Venezuela to get first standing Chavez statue

Venezuela's first standing statue of the late leftist leader Hugo Chavez will be erected in a square in the western city of Merida, officials said Monday. Standing 7'3" tall (2.2 meters) and weighing in at 728 pounds (330 kilograms), the bronze depiction shows Chavez in military fatigues, beret, and presidential sash, his right hand on his chest and his left hand raised. Poet and sculptor Manuel Suescun, who was commissioned to make the piece, is completing a clay model and then a bronze casting, which takes about a month.

Bolivia presses Europeans on diverted flight

Bolivia demanded Monday that France, Spain, Italy and Portugal explain why they refused permission for President Evo Morales to cross their air space last week. Morales's plane was forced to make an unplanned stop in Vienna on Tuesday after his flight path home was blocked, apparently on suspicion that US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was aboard his aircraft. "The Bolivian government has summoned the ambassadors of Spain, France, Italy and Portugal to explain what happened to the presidential plane and President Evo Morales," Communications Minister Amanda Davila said.

Three Latin American leftist leaders offer asylum to Snowden

By Daniel Ramos and Daniel Wallis LA PAZ/CARACAS (Reuters) - Bolivia offered asylum on Saturday to former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, joining leftist allies Venezuela and Nicaragua in defiance of Washington, which is demanding his arrest for divulging details of secret U.S. spy programs. Snowden, 30, is believed to be holed up in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport and has been trying to find a country that would give him sanctuary after he landed there from Hong Kong on June 23.

Bolivia's Morales says he would grant asylum to Snowden if asked

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Saturday he would grant asylum, if requested, to former U.S. intelligence agency contractor Edward Snowden. Morales' offer came after two other leftist Latin American leaders - Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega - also said they would help the U.S. fugitive, who is believed to be holed up in the transit area of a Moscow international airport. (Reporting by Daniel Ramos; Writing by Louise Egan; Editing by Eric Beech)

Spain sees no reason to apologize to Bolivia in Snowden saga

By Sonya Dowsett MADRID (Reuters) - Spain said on Friday it had no reason to apologize after a plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales was diverted on suspicion that fugitive U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden was on board. Bolivia said Morales was returning from Moscow on Tuesday when France and Portugal - later joined by Italy and Spain - banned his plane from entering their airspace, forcing it to land in Vienna.

Bolivia's leader threatens to close US embassy

Bolivia's president threatened Thursday to close the US embassy as leftist Latin American leaders joined him in blasting Europe and the United States after his plane was rerouted over suspicions US fugitive Edward Snowden was aboard. President Evo Morales, who has accused Washington of pressuring European nations to deny him their airspace, warned he would "study, if necessary, closing the US embassy in Bolivia."

Bolivia's leader threatens to close US embassy

Bolivia's president threatened Thursday to close the US embassy as leftist Latin American leaders joined him in blasting Europe and the United States after his plane was rerouted amid suspicions US fugitive Edward Snowden was aboard. President Evo Morales, who has suggested the United States pressured European nations to deny him their airspace, warned he would "study, if necessary, closing the US embassy in Bolivia."

LatAm leaders fuming after Morales plane flap

Leftist Latin American leaders met in Bolivia on Thursday to back President Evo Morales, fuming after some European nations temporarily refused his plane access to their airspace amid suspicions that US fugitive Edward Snowden was aboard. Morales arrived home late Wednesday after a long layover in Vienna, saying his plane was diverted there because it was barred from flying over four European nations, sparking outrage among Latin American leaders.

LatAm leaders meet, fume over Morales plane flap

Leftist Latin American leaders gathered in Bolivia on Thursday to back President Evo Morales, fuming after some European nations temporarily refused his plane access to their airspace amid suspicions US fugitive Edward Snowden was aboard. Morales arrived home late Wednesday after a long layover in Vienna, saying his plane was diverted there because it was barred from flying over four European nations, sparking outrage among Latin American leaders.

Latin American leaders to meet over Snowden plane row

Bolivia's president said Thursday it was not enough for Europeans to apologize after his plane was rerouted over concerns that US fugitive Edward Snowden was aboard, as leftist Latin American leaders prepared a joint response. Evo Morales arrived home late Wednesday from a long layover in Vienna, saying his plane was diverted there because it was denied access to the airspace of four European nations, sparking outrage among Latin American leaders.
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