The forced landing of Bolivian president Evo Morales' jet in Austria over claims that fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board has escalated into a full-scale diplomatic row.

Latin American leaders are furious with the US and its European allies for the treatment of Bolivia's head of state, whose flight back from a summit in Moscow was detoured after the captain was denied access to French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish airspace.

Morales blamed Washington pressure on the countries and said they were slaves to US imperialism. In response, he vowed to close the American embassy in La Paz.

"My hand would not shake to close the US embassy," Morales said. "We have dignity, sovereignty. Without the United States, we are better politically and democratically."

The Bolivian president said apologies from the European governments involved in the diplomatic incident were not enough and said that he had been the victim of a "13-hour kidnapping".

"Some governments apologised, saying it was an error, but this was not an error. What was the main objective? Just to scare me? Shut me up? Intimidate me? What was the goal?" Morales said.

Ambassadors summoned

La Paz added that French and Italian ambassadors and the Portuguese consul would be summoned.

Leaders of neighbouring South American countries called a hasty meeting in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba to throw their weight behind Morales.

The summit brought together some of the fiercest US opponents, including Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro and his Ecuadorian counterpart, Rafael Correa.

"United we will defeat American imperialism," Morales said.

Both Caracas and Quito were said to be open to an asylum request by Snowden, who is believed to be holed up in a Moscow airport hotel.

Correa said of the denial of airspace access: "If this had happened to the president of the United States, it probably would have been grounds for war. They think they can attack, crush, destroy international law.

"We're not going to accept that in the 21st century there's first, second and third-rate countries."

The leaders said they would back Bolivia's official complaint with the UN Human Rights Commission.

Maduro said: "A minister of one of those European governments told me personally that it was the CIA who gave the order to the aeronautical authorities. The CIA is more powerful that governments."

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said they and other European countries were told Snowden was aboard the plane but refused to specify who supplied the information.

Washington declined to comment.

Morales plane
Bolivian President Evo Morales on his plane at Vienna International Airport (Reuters)