Memo to Snowden: They shoot people like you in Cuba
A few days ago, I was willing to cut Mr Snowden a little slack and see him as a principled individual who opposed the NSA's program. I'm not defending his "leak" but was willing to believe that he did it out of some concern for our privacy rights.
Today, I see him as something else, a traitor, a fool and someone who has chosen some rather interesting countries to hide in. Bad company to say the least!
Does Mr Snowden know who he is hanging around with these days? They are not leaders who treat their "Snowdens" nicely.
Maybe Mr Snowden should have read this from Jill Lawrence:
"CUBA: Human Rights Watch calls Cuba "the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent" and says it does so using "short-term detentions, beatings, public acts of repudiation, travel restrictions, and forced exile.
"The government continues to sentence dissidents to one to four-year prison terms in closed, summary trials, and holds others for extended periods without charge," the group says.
Amnesty International noted that Antonio Michel Lima Cruz, released in October after a two-year sentence, had been convicted of "insulting symbols of the homeland" and "public disorder" for singing anti-government songs.
An opposition blogger was blocked from leaving the country for a conference. In addition, " access to information on the Internet remained challenging due to technical limitations and restrictions on content."
VENEZUELA: The power amassed by the government under the late president Hugo Chavez has enabled it to "intimidate, censor, and prosecute Venezuelans who criticize the president or thwart his political agenda," writes Human Rights Watch. Reprisals against government critics have unnerved judges, journalists and human rights defenders. Chavez adopted laws that "dramatically reduce the public's right to obtain information held by the government." In addition, he packed the Supreme Court, which "has largely abdicated its role as a check on executive power." Voters narrowly chose a hand-picked Chavez ally to succeed Chavez in a disputed April election.
ECUADOR: This is the country that gave asylum last summer to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. He is now advising Snowden from inside the embassy of Ecuador in London, where he has been for a year."
Of course, let's not forget Russia and China, the other two in the mix.
I don't know why Mr Snowden chose this route. My guess is that he would have been better off in a US court arguing that the NSA program violates the 4th amendment. He would have also forced President Obama to explain the reasons for these programs. It could have turned into a "teachable moment" as Mr Obama likes to say.
Instead, he chose to hang around with people who don't practice any of the privacy concerns that Mr Snowden is concerned about.
Memo to Mr Snowden: They shoot people like you in Cuba!