This news broke yesterday evening, but given how often this story seems to get turned on its head, combined with how many of you are probably still busy celebrating the nation’s birthday, I thought we’d let it ripen overnight. It seems to be confirmed by multiple sources that two nations have made offers – or at least something approaching an offer in one case – of asylum to fugitive and Wikileaks besty Edward Snowden. And following the pattern we’ve seen thus far, the invitations are coming in from precisely the types of nations where you would expect to see a great love of freedom of the press and open, honest government… Venezuala and Nicaragua.
The presidents of both Nicaragua and Venezuela have indicated their countries could offer political asylum to US fugitive Edward Snowden.
Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro said it would give asylum to the intelligence leaker, who is believed to be holed up in a transit area of Moscow airport…
Mr Snowden has already asked 21 countries for asylum, most of whom have turned down his request.
So I guess that’s that, right? Not so fast, sports fans. There’s still at least a few possible slips twixt the cup and the lip. First of all, Nicaragua has been seeking to improve its relationship with the United States of late, and Daniel Ortega’s “offer” to Snowden seemed to immediately come with some big ole’ caveats.
Meanwhile Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his country would do so “if circumstances permit”.
Venezuela has been pretty much a given since the beginning, and the land of virtually no freedom of the press and oppression of any dissent would almost certainly offer Snowden a celebrity welcome – as long as it served as a black eye to the United States – but Snowden still has to figure out how to get there. That little incident with the Bolivian president’s jet seems to indicate that a number of European states are ready to assist in stopping any flight leaving Moscow which the leaker is suspected of being on and grounding it someplace where we could get our hands on him. So it may take more than an expensive Wikileaks lawyer to allow Snowden to make the jump from Moscow to Caracas.
If Snowden makes it to his big coming out party with Maduro it’s going to be a huge slap in the face to Barack Obama. But at least for now, it seems like he’s on his guard and we’ve got people monitoring Snowden’s possible movements. I would have previously thought that this must mean we’re near the end of the road on this story, but given how long Assange has been holed up in a British embassy, who knows? This may turn out to be a long, sticky summer for Snowden’s Big Adventure.