Skip to main content

Bolivian leader to U.N.: Let's take U.S. to court

By Mariano Castillo and Carlos Montero, CNN
September 26, 2013 -- Updated 1430 GMT (2230 HKT)
 Bolivian President Evo Morales speaks at the 68th United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2013 in New York City.
Bolivian President Evo Morales speaks at the 68th United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2013 in New York City.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bolivia's Evo Morales wants to create a new court to sue the U.S.
  • He has said he wants to sue the Obama administration for crimes against humanity
  • The blustery talk has become a tradition among some Latin American countries

(CNN) -- It's no secret that Bolivian President Evo Morales is not a fan of the U.S. government, and at the U.N. General Assembly he took his complaints to a wider audience, calling for action against the Obama administration.

"I want to propose ... that we think seriously about constituting a 'Tribunal of the People' with international bodies and the large defenders of human rights to begin a lawsuit against the Obama government," he said on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the Bolivian president said his country would accuse the United States of crimes against humanity in the international courts.

His statements might be written off as bluster, but it nonetheless was a strong critique of the United States on an important stage.

In a way, Morales is continuing a tradition of bombastic barbs before the United Nations by a number of Latin American countries with leftist governments.

It was at the same podium that the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in 2006, called George W. Bush the devil and that behind the microphone "it smells of sulfur still."

Chavez's message seven years ago was that Bush acted "as if he owned the world."

Morales has a similar complaint, targeting Obama.

The United States practices "aerial piracy" by denying use of its airspace or limiting the number of visas it grants to delegations from countries it doesn't like, Morales told CNN en Español Thursday.

"Sometimes, they limit our visas," Morales said. "They blackmail us with visas."

The United States will deny use of its airspace to some, and then lie about it, Morales said, referring to allegations by the Venezuelan government that its president, Nicolas Maduro, was blocked from flying over U.S. airspace last week.

The Venezuelan president saw the incident as an affront, but U.S. officials said the issue was resolved satisfactorily.

To Morales, Obama's government talks about democracy but acts like a hegemon, asserting dominance around the world.

"First, he talks about peace, we know he is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, but he does not contribute to peace," Morales said.

Earlier the week, when Obama addressed the assembly, his focus was on Iran and the Middle East and far from Latin America.

He did touch, however, on the criticisms lobbied against the U.S. for intervening in other countries' affairs, especially in the Middle East.

"The United States is chastised for meddling in the region, and accused of having a hand in all manner of conspiracy," he said. "At the same time, the United States is blamed for failing to do enough to solve the region's problems, and for showing indifference toward suffering Muslim populations."

Morales attended the U.N. meeting in New York, but Maduro did not, alleging that there were plots against him.

Because Maduro and other presidents do not feel safe meeting in New York, Morales suggested that the U.N. General Assembly rotate to other countries. He suggested Switzerland or Brazil.

READ: Morales challenges U.S. after Snowden rumor holds up plane in Europe

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 1812 GMT (0212 HKT)
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT