Ventrell said that U.S. officials had spent the weekend reminding countries that might offer Snowden safe passage that they were obligated to uphold international standards on diplomatic and law enforcement cooperation. And he hinted that countries wouldnt want to get on the wrong side of the U.S. on the Snowden issue.
We have broad relationships and we cooperate on interests of mutual concern. And so theres the ability to cooperate more or less on areas of mutual concerns, Ventrell said.
Ventrell specifically mentioned Russia, noting that the U.S. had returned numerous high-level criminals back to Russia at the request of the Russian government, adding that he hoped Moscow would reciprocate with Snowden.
Theres also no guarantee that Vladimir Putins government would comply with demands for Snowdens expulsion, especially after a particularly fraught year for U.S.-Russian relations. The tensions go deeper than the fact that Moscow and Washington support opposite sides of the bloody civil war in Syria. Other strains include Russia freezing U.S. adoptions of Russian children after fatal abuse cases, Congress approving a law barring several Russian officials from entering the U.S., and Russia revealing the purported CIA station chief after broadcasting on TV the arrest of an American agent who was caught trying to recruit a Russian spy.
Why should the United States expect restraint and understanding from Russia? said Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of Parliament, according to the Reuters news agency.
The Obama administration could expect a similar response from Ecuador, whose president, Rafael Correa, seeks to boost his anti-American credentials in Latin America as well as be seen as a paladin against secrecy. Ecuador is among the countries considering asylum applications for Snowden.
Carl Meacham, director of the Americas program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington research institute, said that Correa is trying to put himself in that were the freedom of information folks group.
Correa already defied the United States over the case of Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks website, which published hundreds of thousands of once-secret U.S. diplomatic cables in 2011. For more than a year, Assange has been holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London trying to figure out how to get to Ecuador without arrest.
Drawing on that experience, WikiLeaks is also helping Snowden. In a conference call with journalists Monday, Assange confirmed that WikiLeaks was paying Snowdens expenses and lashed out at the United States for bullying countries into handing him over to authorities.
Meacham said that Correa, who was recently re-elected to a third presidential term and is expected to stay in office until 2017, is gambling that another head-on dispute with the United States will not cost him.
What does he have to lose? He loses the U.S. tariff agreement, Meacham said, referring to the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, which is set to expire July 31. Many U.S. legislators oppose renewal of the trade act for Ecuador because of Correas anti-U.S. views, and Correa may feel renewal is a lost cause.
The trade act indirectly supports around 400,000 jobs in Ecuador, an Andean nation of 14.5 million people.