Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa said that Edward Snowden’s fate is in Russia’s hands, in the latest chess move surrounding Snowden.
"It's up to the Russian authorities if he can leave the Moscow airport for an Ecuadorean embassy," Correa said in an interview with Reuters in the coastal city of Portoviejo.
The statement is the latest move in a game of hot potato, in which many in the international community support Snowden, and his decision to leak the massive NSA spying program conducted by the Obama Administration, but no one wants to be openly defiant to the U.S. Both Russia and Ecuador are familiar with snubbing the United States, but they aren’t North Korea or Cuba, which constantly hold up the U.S. as a tyrant that only the great leader can protect its citizens from. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also passed the buck, saying that Snowden is not Russia’s issue, he’s just a guy in an airport.
Correa, however, is clearly a Snowden fan, and while he won’t reveal whether or not he would grant asylum to Snowden should he make it to Ecuador, to quote the Magic 8-Ball, signs point to yes. Ecuador is the home of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who was granted asylum and has lived in the British Embassy in Ecuador for more than a year. Correa has said himself that Snowden’s actions could be of landmark importance, noting:
"This may be the largest espionage case in this history of humanity.”
Correa has balanced statements like that one with incredible (verbal) deference to the U.S. He described a call from U.S. Vice President Joe Biden requesting that they reject Snowden’s asylum request as “very courteous.”
Correa even added that, "When [Snowden] arrives on Ecuadorean soil, if he arrives ... of course, the first opinions we will seek are those of the United States.”
While no one in power want to say it, the smart money is on Snowden flying out of Russia, because Russia really wants him to be someone else’s problem. He’ll go to Ecuador, possibly via Cuba, and receive asylum there.
Either that or the CIA will find him, taser him, and take him back to the U.S. where he’ll be thrown in a jail for a decade or five.