The U.S. media, Latin America and Snowden's asylum
Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker made famous for revealing classified details of a U.S. surveillance program, has just submitted a request for temporary asylum in Russia. Snowden, whose spent the last several weeks at the Moscow airport claims he could face persecution, torture and even death if he's returned to the United States. If his asylum request is granted he could stay in Russia for the next year.
But Russia wasn't the only country that Snowden considered for asylum. There was a long list of countries where, according to WikiLeaks, he could end up. These included several Latin American nations: Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. His choices for asylum received extensive coverage in the media.
Now, a group of Latin American scholars and professors have sent out a letter to media outlets across the United States addressing the media's portrayal of Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela in relation to the Edward Snowden case. The letter is critical of how these countries have been covered by the media and states, for example, that "media distortions of the state of democracy and press freedoms in countries that are routinely condemned by the U.S. government – such as Venezuela and Ecuador - contribute to a climate of demonization that enables U.S. aggression against those countries and damages relations between the people of the U.S. and our foreign neighbors."
You can read the entire letter here:
Steve Striffler, the Doris Zemurray Stone Chair in Latin American Studies and a professor of anthropology and geography at the University of New Orleans, is one of the authors of the letter. He joins Worldview to discuss what he thinks the media has gotten wrong.