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Caribbean: Snowden Raising Spectre of “Monster Under Bed”?

Caribbean bloggers continue to follow developments in the Edward Snowden case – some view him as the whistleblower who is championing freedom of the Internet, while others maintain his disclosures have overstepped security boundaries.

Cuban diaspora bloggers appeared to be firm in their opinion that Snowden was wrong to have leaked the information. The Cuban Triangle, for instance, noted yesterday that:

It appeared that Edward Snowden, the rat on the run for divulging U.S. government secrets, might depart Russia for a life of political asylum in Ecuador, making a brief stop on our favorite island.

(Update: President Putin confirms that he’s in Russia and won’t be extradicted.)

The post speculates over the possibility of Snowden seeking refuge in Cuba:

The reason Snowden is having to hop-scotch around the world is that the United States has agreements with many countries that would require them to turn Snowden over. And in the absence of agreements, we have relationships with many countries that are sufficiently strong that they would be open to a request from Washington. Add up the two categories of countries, and Snowden’s options narrow.

The United States and Cuba do have an extradition agreement in force, dating from 1904. But it is a dead letter because neither side has honored its terms for years. From the first weeks of Cuba’s revolution, the United States refused to hand over persons sought by Cuba, and Cuba has fugitives from U.S. justice that it has refused to hand over.

Since extradition agreements are based on reciprocal obligations, and since the United States thinks little of Cuba’s justice system, it is unlikely that the United States would seek to revive an extradition agreement with Cuba. Even in cases where we have agreements, some do not apply to all crimes.

It ends by asking:

But what if we did negotiate with Cuba? Each side would carve out exceptions from the obligation to extradict, and the agreement might exclude past cases such as Luis Posada Carriles and JoAnn Chesimard. Even if it’s an agreement full of holes, it would be worth it if it complicates the life and travels of the next Edward Snowden.

Babalu Blog, meanwhile, refers to what it calls “Edward Snowden's whirlwind tour of the world's most repressive tyrannies and most blatant violators of individual rights”. The blog also speculates about a possible Cuba destination:

Snowden is very likely on a Havana-bound flight from Moscow where the criminal Castro dictatorship will no doubt greet him with open arms. They will also quickly take possession of his luggage, laptop computers, computer storage devices, documents, and anything and everything else he has on him. From there, he is possibly heading to the Cuban colony of Venezuela and finally settling in Ecuador, another Cuban proxy.

Snowden may be safe from the American government for now, but if he thinks the U.S. is bad, wait until he gets a load of his hosts.

When it comes to Snowden, however, Jamaican diaspora blogger fyrfli has concerns that are much more personal:

With all the talk of Manning, Snowden and the like, I am increasingly aware of all the knowledge I have about how technology works. And I don’t particularly want to be caught in the fallout.

She explains how this has affected her blogging:

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t necessarily believe anything I have to say is criminal. Nor do I believe that anything I have said here is likely to net me an espionage charge. I am not into treason. But what I do have to say is sometimes controversial and plenty unorthodox. The result is the silence you have been observing on this blog for months now. I just don’t want what I have to say going down in internet history. I now write, again, in paper journals. Anonymity online is a thing of the past.

The post continues:

The truth is that no matter what you have to say – whether it is to disparage the latest bikini fashion…or commentary on the latest political nightmare that is racism or potential treasonous acts by so-called ‘whistle-blowers’ – it will be stored on a server somewhere. Accessible by all manner of people with all kinds of agendas. People have an unattractive way of showing their bigotry and will use anything they can get their hands on to persecute those of us who speak our minds.

Everybody is entitled to speak their minds and be allowed to do so without persecution. Yet that is not what is happening. This so-called ‘free speech’ is being attacked from all quarters these days. No one is immune.

The Snowden case has stirred up some of her deepest fears:

The internet has become that dark space under my bed for me. I don’t want to be caught saying things that can and will be used against me…I don’t want to feel the urge to scream bloody murder when the lights go out because of some unnameable monster who is likely to take my words and twist them to their own advantage. I don’t want to be afraid. And thus, I continue to be quiet.

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