What Awaits Edward Snowden in Venezuela
In today's Foreign Policy, a wonderful article appears, written by Peter Wilson, an journalist who lives in that country and has covered it through the Chavez era. As Wilson reveals, what awaits Edward Snowden, should he actually ever arrive in that nation, is anything but a joyous time. Indeed, one might argue that if he does get exile there, he could be in a living hell---almost as bad as living in an American prison. As Wilson writes:
It's true that many Venezuelans here admire you for blowing the whistle on clandestine U.S. espionage programs. But think twice before pulling a stunt like that here. We have our own version of the surveillance state, but the government's opponents say that it's more typically Cuban "advisors" who are listening in on calls through the state telephone company and the armed forces.
Try to mess with Cuban state security, ever vigilant in its service to Nicholas Maduro, and you will quickly find what living in a real totalitarian society is like. Here is what is likely going to befall you, should you decide to be a whistle-blower- to use the term you and your advocates use for what you did to our country- and this is what will become of your government job and largesse:
Don't worry; you'll be able to find a copy of the Guardian in Caracas. And yes, we still have a free press, even though the government has a habit of shutting down television and radio stations when they get too critical. Open dissent has its dangers. Just ask the 2.4 million Venezuelans who signed a recall petition against Chávez in 2004. Thousands lost their government jobs and are still barred -- nine years later -- from reapplying for state work. That's what you get for just speaking out against the government here…
So I doff my hat to Peter Wilson, for so wonderfully describing the Venezuela Mr. Snowden seeks to move to. Good luck, Ed, you'll need it!