Snowden, who leaked information to the Guardian and the Washington Post about the National Security Agency’s domestic spying, is seeking asylum in Venezuela. But the United States doesn’t want him to get there.
Privately, Washington has been pressing Latin American countries to deny Snowden asylum and extradite him. Publicly, members of Congress and the Senate have been threatening economic and political sanctions against any country that provides Snowden asylum.
Here Latin Americans see a double standard.
For more than five years, Venezuela has sought the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban-born U.S. intelligence operative accused of terrorism for planting a bomb that destroyed a civilian Cuban jetliner in 1976, killing 73 people.
Unlike Snowden, Posada is not a whistleblower; he is wanted for perpetrating acts of terror. Washington continues to protect Posada Carriles and has rejected all efforts to extradite him and have him stand trial in Venezuela. Washington displayed another double standard in its egregious treatment of President Evo Morales of Bolivia.
Today, because of its heavy-handed tactics in the Snowden affair, the United States is more isolated than ever in Latin America.
Washington can no longer bully its way in this hemisphere. It needs to adopt a more mature policy toward its neighbors, one that treats them with respect — not arrogance.
Miguel Tinker Salas is a professor of history and Latin American studies at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., and the author and editor of a number of books on Latin America.