The statement made yesterday by Mr. Edward Snowden at the Moscow airport included this paragraph:
“Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders”.
I will not comment on his personal decision, which I respect and for which he should be willing to “face the music” at home, but just on the paragraph above. I think that the decision to offer asylum to Snowden by Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia has little or nothing to do with principles, as claimed by Snowden. In the case of these three countries what we see is a clear case of political manipulation for ideological reasons, not by reasons of principles. Some might think that ideology and principles are one and the same. But they are not. The ideological structure of the three governments cited by Snowden have much more to do with prejudice, fanatical beliefs, resentment and an overriding desire to irritate the “empire”, than with principles, with values. The proof lies with the manner in which these three countries conduct their policies. They are, to a greater (Venezuela) or lesser degree (Bolivia), characterized by repression, social exclusion of the middle class, alignment with rogue countries and terrorist groups and significant bureaucratic corruption. Mr. Snowden has no idea of the type of military, fascistic, authoritarian governments he is calling principled. He might find out the hard way. When he gets to Venezuela, if he ever does, he will realize that he is not in Kansas anymore.