Edward Snowden has formerly requested temporary asylum in Russia and promised, under President Putin’s stipulations, that he will not leak anything further.
Still, his ultimate destination is thought to be somewhere in Latin America. From Just the Facts, here are some reasons Snowden may have considerable appeal in those countries:
Brazilian newspaper O Globo released three reports this week detailing documents released by Snowden asserting that the United States has been collecting data on telephone calls and e-mails from several countries in Latin America, such as Brazil and Mexico.
The reports indicate that the United States has not only been amassing military and security data, but also collecting inside commercial information on the oil industry in Venezuela and the energy sector in Mexico, which are state-run and essentially closed to foreign investment.
The reports also showed that Colombia, the strongest U.S. military ally in South America, along with Mexico and Brazil, were the countries where the U.S. program intercepted the biggest chunks of information on emails and telephone calls during the last five years. Similar activities took place in Argentina and Ecuador, among others.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff is demanding an explanation for the United States’s spying and plans to involve the United Nations in an investigation of the NSA’s actions. Brazil also said that it might contact Snowden as it investigates the matter. “Mr. Snowden’s participation in an investigation is absolutely relevant and pertinent,” said Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota. Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Argentina are also demanding official explanations and the MercoSur trading bloc held a special session on Friday to discuss the U.S.’ espionage programs.
For a region that has suffered under abusive U.S. militarism and economic exploitation for hundreds of years, one can see why they would consider asylum for an American whistleblower. Note that it’s not without some bluster from Washington: the State Department has said that helping Snowden “would put relations in a very bad place for a long time to come.”
Either way, it’s worth remembering that Snowden’s leaks revealed that many people, not only Americans, are being snooped on.