Equador Jokes To U.S. Over Snowden

The angry response threatens a showdown between the two nations over Snowden, and may burnish President Rafael Correa’s credentials to be the continent’s principal challenger of U.S. power after the death of Venezuelan socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

“Ecuador will not accept pressures or threats from anyone, and it does not traffic in its values or allow them to be subjugated to mercantile interests,” government spokesman Fernando Alvarado said at a news conference.

In a cheeky jab at the U.S. spying program that Snowden unveiled through leaks to the media, the South American nation offered $23 million per year to finance human rights training.

The funding would be destined to help “avoid violations of privacy, torture and other actions that are denigrating to humanity,” Alvarado said. He said the amount was the equivalent of what Ecuador gained each year from the trade benefits.

“Ecuador gives up, unilaterally and irrevocably, the said customs benefits,” he said.

An influential U.S. senator on Wednesday said he would seek to end those benefits if Ecuador gave Snowden asylum.

Snowden, 30, is believed to be at Moscow’s international airport and seeking safe passage to Ecuador.

The Andean nation’s government denies reports that it provided a travel document to the former National Security Agency contractor, whose U.S. passport has been revoked.

The government has not been able to process his asylum request because he is not on Ecuadorean territory, another government official said.

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News Talk Florida Staff