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Jul 01 2013

Ecuador pushes back against the US

Reports have suggested that Edward Snowden’s ultimate destination is Ecuador although that country seems to be cooling on the idea recently. But despite that, Ecuador has gone out of its way to tell the US that it will not be bullied by them to hand over Snowden. Juan Cole lists all the awful things that the US has done to Ecuador in the past as the reasons why that country is taking this stance.

It must be galling for the US government, so used to treating smaller nations with contempt, to now have them pointing out its hypocrisies, especially by countries in central and south America, long considered client states. After lecturing and demanding action from the Hong Kong authorities and being humiliated when they allowed Snowden to leave, the Obama administration seems to have learned a little humility and applied it to their dealings with Ecuador.

According to a news report, Ecuador’s president Rafael Correra reported on the much softer approach that vice-president Joe Biden made to him recently.

During his regular Saturday television program, Correa said that the conversation was “polite” and that Biden had asked him to reject Snowden’s request “as a favor.”

He said that he then proceeded to point out to Biden the hypocrisy of the US stance.

He also said he brought up the case of Roberto and William Isaias, two brothers convicted in Ecuador of embezzling more than $660 million during the country’s 1999 banking crisis. Both men live in Miami, and Ecuador says it has repeatedly asked for their extradition. The men have long rejected the charges, saying they were victims of the country’s financial crisis.

Biden “told me that Mr. Snowden was a fugitive of American justice and didn’t have a passport,” Correa said. “I told him, ‘Well, the Isaiases are fugitives of Ecuadorean justice and they also don’t have passports, and you won’t extradite them.’ ”

Unlike Snowden, who is wanted on various crimes under the espionage act, the Isaias brothers “have already been convicted,” Correa said.

How annoying it must be to have small countries like Ecuador not groveling before the US government. Don’t they know their place?

3 comments

  1. 1
    psweet

    I spent a few weeks in Ecuador about 10 years ago — and managed to get my passport stolen. During all the dealings with government officials to get it (and my visa, of course) replaced, I had no troubles at all with the Ecuadorian ones. The US official was polite and businesslike, but it was still more of a hassle to deal with them than with the Ecuadorians.

  2. 2
    Nick Gotts

    We’ll see, but I suspect the Obama administration have made it very clear through diplomatic channels that any country giving long-term shelter to Snowden can expect serious and persistent harassment on political, economic, espionage and possibly military levels – which means he’ll either end up back in the US, stay indefinitely in the hotel at Moscow airport, or have to take refuge somewhere like Cuba, Venezuela or even Iran – somewhere that’s already the target of active American hostility.

  3. 3
    Nick Gotts

    Oh, and the cyberwarfare level of course.

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