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Snowden Offered Asylum By Venezuelan President 380

First time accepted submitter aBaldrich writes "Edward Snowden was offered 'humanitarian asylum' by Nicolás Maduro, the president of Venezuela. The country's official news agency reports (original Spanish, Google translation) that the decision was taken after a meeting of the presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. Maduro denounced an attempt to 'colonize' several European countries, and that he is acting 'on behalf of the dignity of the Americas.'" The Guardian confirms.
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Snowden Offered Asylum By Venezuelan President

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  • by Google Fanboys ( 2974975 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @08:33AM (#44202425)
    Now the question is how will he get there? There is no direct flights from Moscow. Hell, some countries even denied Bolivian presidents airspace [slashdot.org] when they thought Snowden was on the plane.
    • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @08:40AM (#44202449)

      If nothing else, how about a boat? Russia has a coastline, so does Venezuela. All he has to do is get Russia's permission to enter for a few hours. Or a helicopter to a boat. Or a seaplane. Or a special flight taking the long way flying around Europe, then down the Atlantic. The question is more about how much Russia is willing to help him- given that they haven't just handed him over, my guess is they'll be happy to help him leave.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        He doesn't want to take a boat...... too easy for the boat to be boarded in international water....

        With a plane, you can attempt to force it to land with threats of shooting it down, but there is less chance that the US would actually shot down a plan killing him than of them boarding a vessel in international waters to take him.

        • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @10:52AM (#44203125)

          He doesn't want to take a boat...... too easy for the boat to be boarded in international water....

          With a plane, you can attempt to force it to land with threats of shooting it down, but there is less chance that the US would actually shot down a plan killing him than of them boarding a vessel in international waters to take him.

          Maybe Russia ought to send him to the International Space Station. That would really poke at the USA and there's nothing the USA can do about it since we've failed to maintain our space program so it's not like they can send the CIA after him, and the 3 Russian crewmembers can keep him safe during his stay. Then after he leaves the ISS, they can just have the Soyuz touch down in Venezuela.

          It would actually be kind of amusing to see the USA's reaction to Snowden sitting aboard the ISS, releasing a new classified document each day.

      • by Big Hairy Ian ( 1155547 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:53AM (#44202811)
        Better still why don't the Russians simply get him a UN passport http://www.ehow.com/how_6811457_u_n_-passport_.html [ehow.com] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_laissez-passer [wikipedia.org] and convey diplomatic immunity on him (Its been done before, although, not in such a high profile case). That way any attempt to interfere with him en-route is technically an act of war. But then again they've already done that with the president of Columbia's diplomatic flight so why aren't the UN already spanking America?
        • by bonehead ( 6382 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @10:40AM (#44203071)

          The US holds one of the six "unspankable" seats in the UN.

          While there are technically things they could do, in the real world there is very little they can do against any of the 6 permanent members of the security council that would have any teeth.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by gmuslera ( 3436 )

          I think that Bolivia's presidential plane falls into the definition of diplomatic immunity. And even with that, they had no problem in stopping it and even trying to have a search on it. They are just past of the point of caring about it, in fact threating both Russia and China about his delivery, immediately after he said that US was very aggresively spying on all of them (as in i.e. hacking their own phone networks [scmp.com]) shows that the little they care about treaties and the consequences of their acts, just or

      • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @10:23AM (#44202985)
        I've come to the conclusion that Putin and Obama have reached some kind of deal. Putin is getting something he wants in exchange for agreeing to neither overtly help Snowden to get to another country nor requiring that Russia hand him over directly to US authorities. I have believed for years that George W. Bush botched the relationship between the US and Russia by being unable to understand the concept of quid pro quo. See, Bush believed that people should just do the right thing because it was right, not because they were going to get anything in return. This is a big part of why Poland, Bulgaria and Ukraine quickly jumped in to provide troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. They thought they were going to get visa free US travel in exchange. They pulled out when they realized that Bush was literally incapable of understanding that he owed them something in return. Putin somehow got burned by this too, although I have no idea what he wanted, and he has not forgotten it. Russia isn't going to provide any travel docs to Snowden, offer him asylum in Russia or hand him over to the USA. Venezuela won't send a ship because it fears that the US would just board it or maybe even sink it in international waters. My guess is that Venezuela will offer him a travel document that the Russians will accept, at which point they'll casually mention to their American friends "Oh by the way, Snowden is on flight XXX bound for Venezuela. Here's the flight path." and the US may plan an interception over international waters once it leaves European airspace. The Russians will then claim publicly that they are shocked, yes shocked, at this violation of international air space, which provides the plausible deniability they need.
        • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

          the US may plan an interception over international waters once it leaves European airspace

          What exactly would they do? Before the aircraft heads out over the Atlantic it would have sufficient fuel to complete its trip. You can't board an aircraft in-flight no matter what the movies say (certainly not an unwilling aircraft). About the only thing the US could do is threaten to shoot down the aircraft unless it diverts. That is a bluff that is unlikely to work, especially if the aircraft is carrying other passengers (potentially they could just divert an airliner to stop in Moscow and pick him

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Crowd source a charter flight, and pack it full of snowden lookalikes. Extra points for a snowden lookalike flashmob in the airport

      • The US budget would explode once you pack all those guys in Guantanamo in perpetuity, and a cool $1 million per prisoner per year.
    • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:12AM (#44202577)

      I think that Evo Morales, the Bolivian President, was the "designated drunk" in this case. My guess is that Morales didn't know anything and that someone is playing a deep game, leaking misinformation (about Snowden being on Morales's plane) to the CIA so that the CIA could destroy its credibility and cause a diplomatic debacle by asking Spain [wsj.com] (and others) to stop the flight.

      You can bet that the next South American leader flying out of Moscow will not have their plane stopped. That is so convenient for certain parties that I have to feel that it was not accidental.

      • You're right, it was likely intentional. Did you ever stop to think that it was the South Americans that leaked the false info? Just because they're poor, doesn't mean they're dumb. They have people working for them a hell of a lot more educated than you or I. When and if Snowden makes it into their country there is going to be a heavy price to pay when the US starts flexing its bank accounts and the CIA trys to subvert their leadership. They need a solid reason to have done this so their people will rally

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 06, 2013 @10:05AM (#44202889)

      We have room in Canada, I will pick him up on my battle moose.

    • Some random private jet will take him. The united states can't stop all traffic out of Russia. That would be insane. More of a concern is if Russia betrays Snowden or the US has people inside Wikileaks or some other espionage is going on.

  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:03AM (#44202533)

    Cuba Flight 455 blown up, 78 people killed, Posada Carriles [wikipedia.org] (who, BTW, was trained by the CIA at Fort Benning) escaped Venezuela to the US, and currently lives in Miami after the US refused Venezuelan extradition, on the grounds that he could be tortured if extradited. (Judges generally don't do irony.) He was tried, and acquitted, in the US for entering the country illegally, in the course of the trial his lawyers made the interesting statement that ""The Defendant's CIA relationship, stemming from his work against the Castro regime through his anti-communist activities in Venezuela and Central America, are relevant and admissible to his defense."

    Although you will find barely a mention of the connection in the English language press, Juan Cole [juancole.com] connects the dots.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:09AM (#44202569) Homepage Journal

      but blowing up an airplane, that's like, totally political! releasing files on state wide surveillance system is totally different, that's a common street crime!

    • Oh, thank you mbone. This will be my top card from now on.

      What a piece of shit country I am living in.

      • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @10:48AM (#44203105) Homepage

        No, its not a piece of shit country, its got piece of shit people running the place and they have created a system that ensures they stay in power. The country itself is very decent overall. In a sense you have put a lot of people in jail who shouldn't be there as part of the "War on Drugs" fiasco, and a lot of politicians, corporate CEOs and Intelligence types who should be put in jail but haven't.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Espectr0 ( 577637 )

          It IS a piece of shit country, literally, you can't find toiler paper, sugar, coffee, cooking oil, powder milk and lots of basic items, prices were up 5% in just a month, and that's government numbers, no production means almost everything is imported, no access to $USD means companies going bankrupt. And don't get me started on crime, kidnappings and civil liberties.

          Source: i live here!

          • by arielCo ( 995647 )

            Your description of Venezuela is accurate, but mapkinase was talking about the US, for sheltering Posada Carriles. I doubt that the CIA ordered him to blow up that plane, but that scumbag shouldn't be walking free around Miami, and it only helps the Castros.

  • Venezuela background (Score:3, Informative)

    by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:14AM (#44202593)

    Slightly dated now that el Presedente Chávez has passed on, but I doubt much has changed since. I'm sure Snowden will be happy if he makes it there, although he should probably bring toilet paper with him.

    Venezuela toilet paper shortage sends ordinary lives around the bend [guardian.co.uk] - 23 May 2013

    Scarcity of toilet rolls seen as part of 'general malaise' in which Venezuelans have to use guile during shortage in many staples

    Venezuela crackdown deemed worst in years [yahoo.com]

    Chavez Wasn't Just a Zany Buffoon, He Was an Oppressive Autocrat [theatlantic.com] - Mar 5 2013

    Like an old-style dictator, he treated the state as his personal plaything but, unlike one, his power rested not on violence but on genuine popular affection. Venezuela's history since 1999 has been the story of that contradiction playing itself out across the lives of 29 million people.

    Chávez's insistence on absolute submission from his supporters paved the way for the rise of an over-the-top cult of personality. As questioning any presidential directive was a sure career-ender for his followers, the upper reaches of his government came to be dominated by yes-men. Further down the food chain, too, extravagant displays of personal loyalty were required from every person in every nook and cranny of Venezuela's massive and fast-growing state apparatus, with state-owned factory workers required to attend rallies and clerical personnel fully expected to donate part of their salaries to the ruling party.

    Instead of a police state, Chávez built a propaganda state, one that churned out slogan after slogan stressing the intense, personal, near-mystical bond between him and his followers. . .

    Finding no resistance, Chávez gave free rein to his creative streak. He changed the country's official name, shifted its time zone by half-an-hour on a whim and added an extra star to the flag. At one point, he ordered the National Coat of Arms changed on his then 9-year-old daughter's suggestion. When an opposition satirist responded by publishing an Open Letter to the First Daughter -- reasoning that if she was now making public policy, people had a right to address her -- Chávez had the paper that printed the letter fined for violating a child's privacy.

    Venezuela [heritage.org] - 2013 Index of Economic Freedom

    In 1999, Hugo Chávez won the presidency, vanquished the traditional party system, and launched his Bolivarian Revolution aimed at “Socialism for the 21st Century.” Chávez styles himself the leader of Latin America’s anti–free market forces and has made alliances with China, Cuba, Russia, and rogue states like Iran. He has persecuted his political adversaries and critics, restricted media freedom, undermined the rule of law and property rights, militarized the government, and tried to destabilize neighboring Colombia. The national assembly, which he controls, passed a 2009 constitutional amendment allowing him to seek yet another presidential term, and he won re-election in October 2012. Venezuela has Latin America’s highest inflation rate (currently nearly 30 percent); chronic electricity, food, and housing shortages; and skyrocketing crime rates.

    The judiciary is dysfunctional and completely controlled by the executive. Politically inconvenient contracts are abrogated, and the legal system discriminates against or in favor of investors from certain foreign countries. The government expropriates land and other private holdings across the economy arbitrarily and without compensation. Corruption, exacerbated by cronyism and

    • by hjf ( 703092 )

      chavez, like every other latin american dictator and pseudo-revolutionist, preferred the term "Comandante", instead of presidente.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Artemis3 ( 85734 )

        Chavez didn't care. You could call him informally just Chavez or Hugo, and not only he wouldn't mind, he would appreciate it.

        He was formally the President. And as in many (but not all) countries, that position also entitles "Commander in Chief".

        It was the people who used the titles out of admiration or such, and everyone would use a different one as they see fit. They felt addressing Hugo was possible, like a neighbor or friend, unlike the usual politician in the opposition.

        Chavez was very close to the peop

    • Nice try, asshole (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:39AM (#44202715)

      The reality is that Chavez did more for social conditions in his country than any other president in living memory. USA hated him viciously because of his oil-based power in OPEC, plus his aversion to letting them control the destiny of Venezuela and from there the rest of latinamerica. And that's pretty much it.

      You're pretty transparent.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Yes most of us recall the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Condor [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org] and the specialised telecommunications system called CONDORTEL.
      • by fred911 ( 83970 )

        That's why 1/3rd of the countries occupation is thief. And why when 40 are killed in a weekend in Caracas, it's normal. Venuzuela is a shithole, and a super dangerous place por gringos.

        I never felt more relieved than when I crossed the border to Colombia after leaving that shithole.

      • The reality is that Chavez did more for social conditions in his country than any other president in living memory.

        Yeah, except for those rampant human rights abuses [google.com]. "Social conditions" includes things like free speech, whether you feel you can get justice, feel safe. Even if what you claimed were true - that his people were better off with him than without him - the ends do not justify the means.

        Whether US government officials (not "USA"; don't confuse a country's government or leadership with its p

    • by Paul Fernhout ( 109597 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:51AM (#44202803) Homepage

      Not to bash Venezuela, which has many fine things about it, but also on this theme of what he is getting himself into.

      Not exactly the same, but from someone who tried to gain asylum in Venezuela and ended up leaving including due to aspects of culture shock:
      http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/110706_mcr_evolution.shtml [fromthewilderness.com]
      "The Bolivarian Revolution and Venezuelan culture inherently knows that it cannot make too many exceptions to the rule that diversity must protect itself or else the rule will have no meaning. Thatâ(TM)s exactly what I was asking it to do (though I didnâ(TM)t know it) when I came here. I am not just one migrating gringo. Mike Ruppert could not be assimilated without changing something here: the Tao of politics.
      That is why, after 15 weeks of waiting, after only one interview, a formal petition and a lot of pressure from influential Americans and Venezuelan-Americans (some with direct government connections) I have not heard a word on my request for political asylum. Venezuelans are inherently suspicious, let alone of a blond gringo who is an ex-policeman who came from a US intelligence family. It is possible that within the massive and glacially slow bureaucracy, some who are not loyal to Chavez have buried my request under a pile of papers. In Latin America things take much longer and I can see now that the waiting process, never guaranteed to be successful, is part of a natural selection. ...
      The important distinctions about adaptivity are not racial at all. US citizens come in all colors. American culture is the water they have swum in since birth. A native US citizen of Latin descent who did not (or even did) speak Spanish would probably feel almost as out of place here as I do. They would look the same but not feel the same. And when it came time to deal collectively with a rapidly changing world, a world in turmoil, a native-born Americanâ(TM)s inbred decades of âoeinstinctiveâ survival skills might not harmonize with the skills used by those around him. ...
      Start building your lifeboats where you are now. I can see that the lessons I have learned here are important whether you are thinking of moving from city to countryside, state to state, or nation to nation. Whatever shortcomings you may think exist where you live are far outnumbered by the advantages you have where you are a part of an existing ecosystem that you know and which knows you.
      If the time comes when it is necessary to leave that community you will be better off moving with your tribe rather than moving alone. ..."

      https://www.osac.gov/Pages/ContentReportDetails.aspx?cid=13038 [osac.gov]
      "The U.S. Department of State rates the criminal threat level for Caracas as CRITICAL. In 2010, Caracas became the deadliest capital in the world with the highest murder rate in the world, averaging one murder every hour. Much of Caracasâ(TM)s crime and violence can be attributed to mobile street gangs and organized crime groups. Caracas continues to be notorious for the brazenness of high-profile, violent crimes such as murder, robberies, and kidnappings. Armed assaults and robberies continue to be a part of everyday life. Every Caracas neighborhood is susceptible to crime. Reports of armed robberies occur regularly, day and night, and include the generally affluent residential sections of Chacao, Baruta, and El Hatillo, where host government, business leaders, and diplomats reside. Studies and reports cite a variety of reasons for the critically high and constant level of violent criminal activity in Caracas including: a sense that criminals will not be penalized; poorly paid and often corrupt police; an inefficient politicized judiciary; a violent and overcrowded prison system; overworked prosecutors; and the

      • All, bad, but lets keep things in context, his other option is arrest, torture and likely death at the hands of our very own benevolent government. I've been to far worse countries than Venezuela. Life is livable, most people are nice and not gang members, if you have any money at all you'll do fine. The US has likely frozen all his assets but hopefully he was smart and took large quantities of cash. If not I'm sure there will be plenty of people that will give him a bit of cash. You can live very well for

  • Maduro denounced an attempt to 'colonize' several European Countries

    I hope that should read "Maduro denounced an attempt at 'colonizing' by several European Countries,"

    • Maduro denounced an attempt to 'colonize' several European Countries

      I hope that should read "Maduro denounced an attempt at 'colonizing' by several European Countries,"

      From the Huffington Post [huffingtonpost.com]

      "The European people have seen the cowardice and the weakness of their governments, which now look like colonies of the United States," the Venezuelan president said.

  • by arielCo ( 995647 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @09:38AM (#44202705)

    After exposing massive metadata-based surveillance by his government, he might have to take asylum in a repressive country that routinely has conversations between opposition politicians recorded, edited, manipulated and shown on state-owned TV. That is, excluding the ones that had to flee or were jailed on bogus charges. The bitter irony cannot be missed.

  • Poll after poll shows just under 50% Americans support giving up their basic civil rights to protect their security. Why?

    Can anyone explain why people who live in a country famous for valuing liberty are so quick to give their own liberty away for a false feeling of safety? Is it cowardice? Is it ignorance?

    • by bussdriver ( 620565 ) on Saturday July 06, 2013 @12:30PM (#44203595)

      Ignorance. come on, the whole world jokes about how ignorant Americans are. An American couldn't "get it." No need for discussion and Americans are nearly hopeless to talk to about it, they are unjustifiably overconfident or dismissive on the issue. The Press is nearly dead... a farce. Good education is undermined and attacked (it's always easy to find something to complain about to justify attacking the parts that WORK. Critical Thinking, dead. Civics, dead. Creative Thinking, dead. School psychologist, gone..how dare they blame parents! Math test scores were too low to allow those other subjects...)

      American culture has been promoting cowardice for generations now. Fear is the lowest common denominator for humans and it is not just exploited for politics - our modern marketing exploits it, our entertainment as well. The learned behaviors on how to respond to fear have been influenced as well. Americans are less happy and more stressed due to the impact of the commercial culture thrust upon them (which also has them praising it because it also raises us to love it.) IT IS A CULTURE OF FEAR - just spend some time here observing (not that these things are not being exporter abroad... they are. the UK does a bang up job of it.) The downside to having no shared cultural roots is that the population is easier to experiment on. As far as I'm concerned the only good thing about tradition is the temporary firewall it provides.

      Propaganda is the source of the huge amount of working control over the masses today. America is home to some of the best of it, even Hitler got a lot of his research material from America. It was American propagandists post WW2 that renamed their new profession: Public Relations. Marketing and Advertizing being offshoots, applying the same techniques... and new ones. The military may weaponize all science but PR weaponizes all social science... and quickly makes it publicly available as a service to anybody with money.

      American working poor live well enough; the middle class is happy enough during their decades of decline that it is not enough to get off their addictions long enough to do anything about it. The primary one being consumerism, the main tool behind it all: television.

      Also, try arguing with an American in person. Observe the others around you as well. It is almost like you were in a fight, the unpleasantness to the viewers and the participants. See how disagreement is so contentious and how you will be judged and grudges formed simply by your disagreement. The people are WIMPS -- except in New York where everybody being rude has somewhat shielded them. Why learn the actual NEWS when it is so upsetting and depressing?? Turn on GOP TV and hear what "you" want to hear...(aka Fox News - BTW, the project name was GOP TV.) Personalization has led to wall gardens that /. people hate so much-- like the phones, it's more of an invisible fence that you don't mind being restricted to... even enjoying your confinement...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 06, 2013 @11:38AM (#44203337)

    This is interesting news, because I had heard, from a reliable source, that when Snowden inquired of his attorney where on earth he could best be assured freedom from prosecution under U.S. law, the lawyer had recommended Wall Street.

It seems intuitively obvious to me, which means that it might be wrong. -- Chris Torek