Ecuador: Helping Snowden Was A Mistake

The President of Ecuador is apparently having second thoughts about helping Edward Snowden:

Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa has said the country is not considering Edward Snowden’s request for asylum, saying that he is now Russia’s responsibility.

He described the decision to issue Snowden with a temporary travel pass after his passport was revoked by the US government as “a mistake on our part”, during an interview with the Guardian.

The Ecuadorian president said that the travel document issued on 22 June by his London consul was a “blunder”, and that the “crisis hit us at a very vulnerable moment.”

Mr Correa explained: “Our foreign minister was touring Asia. Our deputy foreign minister was in the Czech Republic. Our US ambassador was in Italy.

“The consul, in his desperation, probably he couldn’t reach the foreign minister … and he issued a safe conduct document without validity, without authorisation, without us even knowing.”

He said that Snowden is no longer the responsibility of Ecuador. “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.”

The Russians don’t seem inclined to help Snowden either, and he has reportedly withdrawn his request for asylum there:

MOSCOW —Fugitive Edward Snowden has withdrawn his request for Russian political asylum, a presidential spokesman said Tuesday, apparently because he was unwilling to go along with President Vladimir Putin’s requirement that he stop any activity damaging to the United States.

“He has abandoned this idea and his request for permission to stay in Russia,” Dmitri Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told Interfax and other reporters Tuesday.

Peskov reiterated that Russia had no intention of returning Snowden to the United States, where he has been charged with leaking classified documents.

“The extradition of Snowden to such a country as the United States, which applies the death penalty, is impossible,” he said.

The charges Snowden faces do not qualify for the death penalty.

While the death penalty is not currently illegal in Russia, there has been a moratorium in place for many years that appears unlikely to be lifted. In any case, Snowden has apparently applied for asylum to 21 different countries, none of which seem eager to take him:

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, believed to be in legal limbo in the Moscow airport, expanded his requests for asylum to 21 countries, including China and 13 European nations, according to WikiLeaks, but his options seemed to be narrowing on Tuesday.


The WikiLeaks statement said requests were made to China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, India and European countries. Snowden had planned earlier to seek asylum in Ecuador and had requested asylum in Russia, according to the anti-secrecy group.

Early Tuesday, however, the Kremlin said Snowden had repealed his request to stay in Russia because of the terms for protection given by Moscow.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said Mondaythat former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden will have to stop leaking U.S. secrets if he wants to get asylum in Russia, but added that Snowden has no plan to quit doing so.

Poland rejected Snowden’s asylum request on Tuesday, and officials in Germany, Norway, Austria, Spain and Switzerland said that he could not apply for asylum from abroad. Many European countries require an asylum request to be made on their soil.

Poland’s Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said Snowden had made a request for asylum in Poland, but the request had faults and was rejected. He did not elaborate.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, coincidentally wrapping up a long-planned visit to Moscow, said Tuesday that his government had not yet received an official asylum request from Snowden, but that it would be considered if and when received.

Edward Snowden really is turning into Viktor Navorski isn’t he?

Update: Snowden’s options narrowed more this morning as both India and Brazil have denied his request for asylum.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I feel pretty confident that Ecuador was privately shown the error of its ways.

    No country has much leverage to screw with the largest market in the world when it is determined to get what it wants (i.e. Snowden back …)

    Unless they just don’t like foreign trade anyway …

  2. michael reynolds says:

    I know one country that will take him with open arms.

    “Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,
    ‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
    The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
    And I’ve a many curious things to shew when you are there.”

    Come on home, Eddie boy.

  3. @michael reynolds:

    I was thinking he should look to the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.

  4. merl says:

    Maybe the Land of Make Believe will take him.

  5. Tillman says:

    How appropriate that an advocate of free and unspied-upon speech should reject conditions which restrict him making further speech upon his homeland.