This morning, it's been reported that President Obama has canceled meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a "rare diplomatic rebuke" of Russia's granting temporary asylum to NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
As Glenn Greenwald notes, the public anger and diplomatic row generated by the Obama administration starkly reveals U.S. hypocrisy on this issue.
For our government has all but granted asylum to Bolivia's ex-President, Sánchez de Lozada, who has been charged in his home country of "crimes against humanity" (classified as "genocide" in Bolivian law).
And why was he charged for such crimes? Here's Greenwald:
In October 2003, the intensely pro-US president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, sent his security forces to suppress growing popular protests against the government's energy and globalization policies. Using high-powered rifles and machine guns, his military forces killed 67 men, women and children, and injured 400 more, almost all of whom were poor and from the nation's indigenous Aymara communities.The resulting outrage drove de Lozada from power. So he fled to the U.S. where he was welcomed with open arms and has been protected under asylum ever since, despite the fact that Bolivia wants justice.
The Bolivians, however, have never stopped attempting to bring their former leader to justice for what they insist are his genocide and crimes against humanity: namely, ordering the killing of indigenous peaceful protesters in cold blood (as Time Magazine put it: "according to witnesses, the military fired indiscriminately and without warning in El Alto neighborhoods"). In 2007, Bolivian prosecutors formally charged him with genocide for the October 2003 incident, charges which were approved by the nation's supreme court.Of course, extradition requests have been repeatedly denied by the U.S, which this morning created a massive diplomatic row with Russia over its granting of temporary asylum to Edward Snowden – a whistle-blower who has revealed information for the public good. (If handed over, Snowden would likely become one of 80,000 Americans locked away in solitary confinement, defined by the U.N. as torture.)
The contrast between America's positions on these events is stark, indeed. As is the hypocrisy.