In an effort to backpedal from what could have been disastrous for Ecuador and the Correa government, Ecuador’s president revealed July 1, 2013 that the whistleblower, Edward Snowden was granted a temporary travel card at 4am ‘without authorization or validity’.
Correa said that Ecuador is not Considering Edward Snowden’s asylum request and never intended to facilitate his flight from Hong Kong, as the whistleblower made a plea to Quito staff for his case to be heard.
In an interview with the London, Guardian on Monday Correa went on to note that Snowden was Russia’s responsibility and would have to reach Ecuadorean territory before the country would consider any asylum request, the president said in an interview with the Guardian:
“Are we responsible for getting him to Ecuador? It’s not logical. The country that has to give him a safe conduct document is Russia” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/02/ecuador-rafael-correa-snowden-mistake?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2).
The president, speaking at the presidential palace in Quito, said his government did not intentionally help Snowden travel from Hong Kong to Moscow with a temporary travel pass. “It was a mistake on our part”, he added. Correa was referring to an Ecuadorean temporary travel document issued that substituted for his canceled U.S. passport.
Asked if he thought the former NSA contractor would ever make it to Quito, Correa replied:
“Mr. Snowden’s situation is very complicated, but in this moment he is in Russian territory and these are decisions for the Russian Authorities.”
On Whether Correa would like to meet him, the president said:
“Not particularly. He’s a very complicated person. Strictly speaking, Mr. Snowden spied for some time” (ibid).
The comments contrasted with expressions of gratitude the 30-year-old fugitive issued hours earlier, before Correa’s views had been published.
According to a letter written in Spanish and Obtained by the Press Association news agency, based in London, Snowden commented.
“I must express my deep respect for your principles and sincere thanks for your government’s action in considering my request for political asylum. There are few world leaders who would risk standing for the human rights of an individually against the most powerful government on earth, and the bravery of Ecuador and its people is an example to the world
“The decisive action of your consul in London, Fidel Narvaez, guaranteed my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong - I could never have risked travel without that. Now, as a result, and through the continued support of your government, I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest” (ibid).
Correa said Quito respected the right of asylum and appreciated Snowden exposing the extent of U.S. spying, but would not consider an asylum request unless it was made to an Ecuadorean embassy or the country itself - a remote possibility while Snowden reportedly remains marooned in Sheremetyevo airport’s transit lounge.
“The request must be made on Ecuadorean territory”, the president added.
Earlier on Monday, Moscow confirmed That Snowden had applied for asylum in Russia. The Los Angeles Times said like he had made applications to a Total of 15 countries.
In another statement, issued through by the campaigning website Wikileaks, Snowden attacked President Obama for putting pressure behind the scenes on country’s to which he had petitioned for asylum.
In his Guardian interview, Correa said his government had not, and would not give an authorized Snowden travel document to extract him from Moscow airport.
“The right of asylum request is one thing but helping someone travel from one country to another - Ecuador has never done this” (ibid).
Correa said that the temporary travel document issued by his London consultation on 22 June - and publicly disowned five days later - was a blunder.
“It was a mistake on our part. Look, this crisis hit us in a very vulnerable moment. Our foreign minister was touring Asia. Our deputy foreign minister was in the Czech Republic. Our U.S. ambassador was in Italy” (ibid).
“Narvaez and the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been sheltered at Ecuador’s London embassy for the past year to escape extradition, took matters into their own hands because they feared Snowden’s risked capture”, Correa noted.
“The consul, in his desperation, he probably could not reach the foreign minister … issued a safe conduct document without validity, without approved authorization, without us even knowing.”
Correa portrayed the consul as a “cultured” man who cited the example of Ecuadorean diplomats Jews in Czechoslovakia giving visas in defiance of their foreign ministry during the Second World War.
“Look, he [Assange] is in the embassy, he’s a friend of the consul, and called him at four in the morning to say, ‘they are going to capture Snowden. The [consultation] is desperate - ‘how are we going to save the life of this man?’.
Correa went on to state:
“So I told him: OK, if you think you did the right thing, I respect your decision, but you could not give, without approved authorization, a safe conduct pass. It was completely invalid, and I will have to accept the very important consequences” (ibid).
Narvaez would be “sanctioned”, the president said, without elaborating further.
Some diplomats have complained that Ecuadorean Assange appeared to usurp Quito but the president said there was no rupture.
“Mr. Assange continues to enjoy our full respect and is under the protection of the Ecuadorean state”, he stated.
However, Correa has joined European and other Latin Americans leaders in denouncing U.S. espionage.
Ecuadorian right wing nationalists are the problem
As I noted in an article at Dailycensored.com, the real problem for Correa is his own right-wing nationalists who have been pounding the president and his policies since his overwhelming election in February of 2013 (http://www.dailycensored.com/ecuador-cancels-the-andean-trade-promotion-and-drug-eradication-act-tatpdea-as-the-us-creates-an-international-incident/).
Correa is no fool. He understands that if he gives Snowden asylum, this will cause divisions in his own country and would play right into the hands of the CIA, the militaristic Obama administration and the national bourgeoisie in Ecuador. Divide and conquer is the rule of the day for the US military and their surrogate politicians in Washington. Seeding distrust, disruption and divisions is an old trick and Correa was and is smart enough not to fall into the trap.
Add to this the fact many Ecuadorians do not trust the US nor its whistleblowers and in fact, as I reported, many Ecuadorians of all stripes think Snowden could be a ‘plant’ or false flag (ibid).
For those who have hammered Correa for his decision not to give asylum to Snowden, they would do well to understand the history and politics of this tiny South American country before they lambast the Ecuadorian president for ‘not having the courage’ to stand up to the US.
Picture of the coffin carrying of former president of Ecuador, Jaime Roldos after the CIA, no doubt with the help of the Miami-Cuban mafia, assassinated him.
Snowden is a hot potato in international politics and the grand chess game. If he is found dead by suicide or in the rubble of an ‘airplane’ crash do not be surprised. This is how the US military and its henchmen work.