Why is Ecuador becoming a haven for Edward Snowden, America’s most wanted?

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is seen in this still image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong June 6. Credit: Reuters
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden faces a host of charges in the United States.
Credit: Reuters

The hunt for Edward Snowden took a twist Monday, with the ex-spy missing a flight he booked from Russia to Havana. But while Snowden’s location is unclear, the likely destination is Ecuador, where he had formally requested asylum. But why would this strange marriage work?

Does Ecuador want Snowden?

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino spoke favorably of his asylum request, stating it was “to do with freedom of expression and the security of citizens around the world,” and attacked the U.S. government over human rights abuses. Further, Wikileaks founder and fellow wanted man Julian Assange suggested that acceptance was a formality following a meeting with Patino.

What is the role of Wikileaks?

Assange, under effective house arrest at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, claimed to have secured a “special refugee travel document” for Snowden, issued by Ecuador. The Wikileaks chief has a longstanding relationship with both Snowden and Ecuadorean officials, shown in a warm interview with President Rafael Correa on Russia Today last year. It is rumored that Snowden holds more government secrets that Wikileaks could publish.

How do the Ecuadoreans benefit?

Along with Venezuela and Cuba, Ecuador has one of Latin America’s most anti-U.S. governments and defiance against the “empire” is also a populist move. Correa and Assange claim to share a “common enemy,” and the president is keen to show strength after a comprehensive election victory. Further, harboring whistleblowers will improve Ecuador’s reputation on human rights.

Does Ecuador have a good record on free speech?

No. A new law was passed this year making it easier to prosecute reporters for criticizing the government, and Correa has sued and shut down critical media. Ecuador ranks 119 on the Press Freedom Index.

What can the U.S. do?

Not much judging by the case of Assange, who is still protected after a year of the U.K. government attempting to arrest him. Ecuador has an extradition treaty with the U.S. but this does not cover political cases.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Arts

EXCLUSIVE: Backstage with Adam Jacobs at 'Aladdin' on…

Metro shadowed Adam Jacobs backstage at "Aladdin" on Broadway.

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

Movies

Review: Bickering family dramedy 'This is Where I…

A talented cast sits Shiva in the bickering family dramedy "This is Where I Leave You," although it's more sap than yuks.

NFL

J.J. Watt poses unique challenges to struggling Giants…

Watt, arguably the best defensive player in the league, is the leader of a surprising Texans (2-0) team that has already matched last season’s win total.

NFL

Eric Decker 'unlikely to play' against Bears: Source

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker's status for Monday night’s game against the Bears is in doubt after he missed practice again Wednesday.

NFL

Preston Parker, not Odell Beckham, will replace Jerrel…

Tom Coughlin noted the next man up will be unheralded veteran Preston Parker.

NFL

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…