Edward Snowden has emerged from hiding in Moscow’s airport to make his case for temporary asylum in Russia until he can secure safe passage to a host country in Latin America. What will happen to him when he’s granted asylum?
Whistleblower Edward Snowden emerged from hiding in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport Friday to meet with human rights activists and a handful of lawmakers to publicly make his case for temporary asylum in Russia until he can arrange travel to Venezuela, where he has accepted an offer of asylum.
Snowden says that he has accepted an offer of asylum from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, but needs to seek permission from Russia to exit the country as his passport has been revoked. Snowden believes that the US is orchestrating a campaign to hinder his efforts to request asylum.
Wikileaks published the statement Snowden gave to those in attendance.
“That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets,” he wrote in the statement.
“Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression,” part of the statement read. “The United States Government has placed me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement – the Law of Nations”
Russian officials stated that they have yet to receive a formal request from Snowden.
Life in asylum
Assuming that Snowden makes it to Venezuela, where he has formally accepted its offer of asylum, what will his life be like?
Most of the countries on the list of states that have hinted at granting Snowden asylum aren’t doing so out of sympathy to his plight, but rather to maintain an aggressive posture of foreign policy. After all, many of these countries have long lists of human rights atrocities; Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez ordered the closure of dozens of radio stations for criticizing his government.
Snowden’s life amongst such thugs is certainly bound to be pleasant for a while. He’ll likely have spectacular accommodation, and be in no shortage of female companionship. But at the same time he’ll be a bargaining chip, a stooge. He’ll be dragged out to parades and other photo-ops with Venezuela’s leaders and likely be made to give long grandstanding speeches championing Venezuela and condemning American imperialism.
But should he have a change of heart he’ll be stuck with nowhere to go; an exile not unlike his current situation in the transit zone of Moscow’s airport.