The Argentine President's Riveting Account of Tuesday's Snowden Crisis

When Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane was rerouted last night on the suspicion that it was carrying NSA leaker Edward Snowden out of Russia, outraged, frantic South American leaders spent the evening on the phone in an attempt to seek justice.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner recounted her experience of the crisis in a series of Tweets—demonstrating that not just Bolivia but much of South America was infuriated at the European breach of diplomatic immunity. Here's her Twitter story, with accompanying translations and annotations by Kragen Javier Sitaker:

I got back from the Casa Rosada [the seat of the executive branch]. Olivos [where the presidential residence is located], 9:46 PM. "President Correa [of Ecuador] on the line." "Rafael? I'll take the call."

"Hi Rafa, what's up?" He answers me with a mix of anger and anguish. "Don't you know what's going on?"

"No, what's going on?" I'm struck speechless. Strange, since I'm always alert... and careful. But I'd just gotten out of a meeting.

"Cristina. Evo's been detained in his plane. They're not letting him leave Europe."

"What? Evo? Evo Morales [President of Bolivia] detained?" Immediately his latest photo, in Russia, pops into my head...

together with Putin, Nicolás Maduro and other Heads of State. "But what happened, Rafael?"

"Several countries revoked his permission to fly over, and he's in Vienna," he answers.

They've definitely gone crazy. Head of State, and his plane has total immunity. This level of impunity [a word which here evokes the memory of the last dictatorship, which exterminated some ten to thirty thousand of its political opponents, a crime that wasn't successfully prosecuted until Sra. Fernandez and her late husband did so in their presidencies] cannot be.

Rafael tells me he's going to call Ollanta Humala [president of Perú] urgently for an urgent meeting of UNASUR.

I call Evo. From the other end of the line, his voice answers me calmly, "Hey buddy, how's it going?" He's asking me how I am!

He has the advantage of thousands of years of civilization over me. [Not sure I understood that sentence correctly.] He explains the situation to me. "So here I am, in a little room in the airport…"

"and I'm not going to let them search my plane. I'm not a thief." Simply perfect. Stay strong, Evo.

CFK [Cristina]: "Let me call the State Department. I want to check out which jurisdiction, Treaty and Court to use. I'll call you back." "Thanks, buddy."

"Hello, Susana." No, darling, Susana Ruiz Cerruti. [Cristina is clarifying to the reader that she's not referring to the popular TV show host Susana Gimenez.]) Our expert in international legal matters in the State Department.

She confirms absolute immunity by legal tradition, received [We're told that in this usage "received" means something like "recognized" or "confirmed as legitimate" — Ed.] by the 2004 Convention and the Tribunal of The Hague.

If Austria doesn't let him go or wants to search his plane, we can present the case before the International Court of The Hague and request…

Yesss! A PREVENTATIVE INJUNCTION. I don't know whether to start laughing or crying. [This is a reference to the President's years-long struggle against preventative injunctions put in place by Argentine courts against her efforts to break up the big Argentine media trusts that are her strongest local political enemies.] You see what preventative injunctions are for.

And, well, if not, we can send him some judge from here. Mother of God! What a world!

I call Evo back. His Minister of Defense takes note. In Austria it's 3 AM. They're going to try to call the authorities.

I speak with Pepe (Mujica) [President of Uruguay, whose legal given name is José]. He's outraged. He's right. It's all very humiliating. Rafa calls me back.

He tells me Ollanta will call a meeting of UNASUR. It's 12:25 AM. Tomorrow will be a long, hard day. Don't worry. This will not stand.