The news that the leaders of Venezuela and Nicaragua say they’re willing to give asylum to “NSA leaker” Edward Snowden raises an obvious question:
If Russian authorties give him permission to leave, can he get to either country from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, where he’s been lingering in legal limbo for nearly two weeks?
“The only ‘safe’ commercial flight across the Atlantic — one that would avoid U.S. extradition treaties — is to Cuba. Cuba has an extradition treaty from 1904, but the Castro government could chose to ignore it. From Havana, Snowden could connect to Caracas, Venezuela, or Managua, Nicaragua.”
But according to Reuters, “it is not clear if the Cuban authorities would let him transit … and there was no sign of Snowden aboard the flight to Havana on Saturday.” What’s more, “given the dramatic grounding in Vienna of the Bolivian president’s plane this week over suspicions that Snowden was onboard, using European airspace could prove problematic.”
With financial help from his supporters, ABC News adds, Snowden might be able to charter a private plane. It writes that: “Reports last week quoted the cost of a private plane to Ecuador to be more than $200,000 on one of the few private jets that could make the trip without refueling. Similar flights to Venezuela or Nicaragua would presumably be only a bit less.”
Of course, some nations might try to block a plane with Snowden aboard from flying through their airspace. It’s unlikely, though, that they would use force to make a jet land. As President Obama said last week, “I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.”
Morales’ plane had to land somewhere in Europe to refuel.