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

 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

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.

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