The US government is intensifying its threats against Latin American states that may offer asylum to leaker of NSA electronic spying efforts, warning them of “lasting consequences. ”
The United States is engaging in an all - out diplomatic push to try to block former contractor of US spy agencies, Edward Snowden, from finding refuge in Latin America, where three governments have publicly pledged to grant him asylum,The New York Timesreported Thursday. Throughout the region, the report says, American embassies have relayed Washington’s message that allowing Snowden into Latin America, “even if he shows up unexpectedly, would have lasting consequences. ”
“There is not a country in the hemisphere whose government does not understand our position at this point, ” a senior State Department official is cited in the report as saying, emphasizing that aiding Snowden “would put relations in a very bad place for a long time to come. ”
“If someone thinks things would go away, it won’t be the case, ” the official further added. The development comes as US Vice President Joseph Biden took the unusual step of calling Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to urge him against granting asylum to Snowden. Senior State Department officials, according to the report, have also pressed Venezuela on the issue “with both sides keenly aware that hopes for better ties and an exchange of ambassadors after years of tension could be on the line. ” The report then goes on to point out, however, that Washington is finding that its leverage in Latin America is limited just when it needs it most, “a reflection of how a region that was once a broad zone of American power has become increasingly confident in its ability to act independently. ” “Our influence in the hemisphere is diminishing, ” said Bill Richardson, a former American ambassador to the United Nations who visited Venezuela this year as a representative of the Organization of American States.
“It’s important that the Obama administration and Secretary of State Kerry devote more time to the region and buttress our relationship with some of the moderate countries, like Mexico and Colombia and Brazil and Peru, to resist that anti - US movement, ” Richardson in further cited as saying by the US - based daily.
This is while the Latin American leaders and officials from Argentina, Ecuador, Suriname, Venezuela, Brazil and Uruguay joined Bolivia’s President Evo Morales in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba last week to condemn the illegal European action in forcing down Morales’s plane over Europe’s airspace, demanding a formal apology from Western European countries of France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The Latin American leaders expressed outraged over the incident, dismissing it as a violation of national sovereignty and a slap in the face for a region that has suffered through humiliations imposed by Europe and numerous US-backed military coups. "United we will defeat American imperialism. We met with the leaders of my party and they asked us for several measures and if necessary, we will close the embassy of the United States," said President Morales. "We do not need the embassy of the United States."