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Snowden’s next stop: Latin America split on Snowden extradition

Snowden’s next stop: Latin America split on Snowden extradition
The regional block’s reaction will mark a “new era of Latin American sovereignty,” Eva Golinger, attorney and author, told RT.

Many Latin American countries have so far kept silent on the ‘humiliating’ detour of President Evo Morales’ plane on the grounds NSA whistleblower Snowden was aboard, and now they must take a diplomatic stand on the issue.

Bolivia has so far rejected a US extradition request, and Venezuela hasn’t yet indicated if they will hang their hat with America or consider granting Snowden asylum.

Wednesday’s Bolivian plane detour further complicated the question, as western powers unilaterally blocked President Evo Morales' plane forcing it to land in Austria. France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy all closed their airspace suspecting the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden had stowed away on board the president’s aircraft.

The 12 nations that are part of the Latin American regional block will have a ministerial meeting in the Peruvian capital of Lima to discuss the consequences of Wednesday’s unprecedented incident.

The detour was a “humiliation” for Bolivia which has had its history of American meddling in its foreign affairs.

Many Latin American countries have so far kept silent on the issue, for example Columbia and Brazil, the region's largest country, Eva Golinger told RT in an interview.

“The countries which are closer to Mr. Morales, like Argentina, Venezuela, Nicaragua, they are going to push forward the criticism on the decisions against Morales,” said Golinger.

But other powers in South America are going to wait and analyze the data before reacting and deciding on diplomatic action, Golinger suspects.

An activists of the organization Campact demonstrates in front of the German Chancellery in support of fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden (featuring his face on the paper bag), on July 4, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. (AFP Photo)

“Brazil and Chile have a mediating role that helps Latin America,” which complicates any outspoken commentary against the US.

“Latin America is very split when it comes to the US, many countries are very, very critical, just like Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and other countries tend to negotiate more with the US, that’s the case with Chile, for example, they’re negotiating a trade agreement with the US, and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff had close contact with President Barack Obama and included a state visit to the US. The position of Latin America towards the US might be of some criticism now on the microphones, while behind the scenes, is going to be a little more split than it seems.”

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s best shot at asylum may be with a Latin American country, as Bolivia and Venezuela are the only countries to have publically stated they would consider asylum for the fugitive former security contractor. 

Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday his country had not received a request, but that Snowden “deserves the world’s protection.”

Bolivia is in a different position than Venezuela, because it has less diplomatic and trade negotiations with their superpower neighbor to the north.

“Morales doesn’t have much to lose, he doesn’t have any trade agreements to negotiate with Europe or with the US, his country is very poor in South America, and they could be in the limelight again to get some kind of improvement to the situation as well.”

“ I were to bet money on this, I would bet just on Bolivia.”

President Rafael Correa said Tuesday that Ecuador isn’t considering Snowden’s asylum request and couldn’t until Snowden stepped foot in the country.

Golinger doesn’t believe Ecuador should be ruled out just yet:

“I wouldn’t pull out Ecuador as well because President Rafael Correa seems to be interested in Snowden’s case.”