The NSA Case's Secret Story: Turmoil in South America

According to communications reviewed by Univision, after issuing the document Narváez traveled the same day to Moscow. In a communication dated Monday June 24, addressed to the Ecuadorian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ana Albán, the consul notifies her that he has been in Moscow for two days and that he traveled with the authorization of Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño Aroca and his advisor, José María Guijarro, alias Txema, a Spaniard from the Centro de Estudios Políticos y Sociales (Center for Political and Social Studies) in Madrid, who assists Patiño with foreign policy issues. According to Narváez, the purpose of his trip was to provide support to the Ecuadorian ambassador in Russia, Patricio Chávez.

Snowden’s transfer

The founder of Wikileaks was behind Snowden’s decision to leave Hong Kong in search of a safer place. Assange was negotiating political asylum for Snowden with the government of Iceland, as he revealed in a press teleconference. On June 23, a day after the creation of the safe-conduct in London, Snowden flew to Moscow accompanied by Julian Assange’s assistant, Sarah Harrison.

Upon his arrival at the Moscow airport, Ecuadorian diplomats tried to meet with Snowden at the airport’s Terminal E, where the hotel is located, according to reports from The Voice of Russia. That same day, Foreign Minister Patiño announced on his Twitter account from Vietnam, where he was visiting, that his government had received an asylum petition from the former U.S. agent.

A Wikileaks spokesperson, Kristinn Hrafnsson, also stated that their organization had helped Snowden apply for asylum with the government of Ecuador.

Snowden’s situation, however, became more complicated the same day he arrived in Moscow, due to the State Department’s announcement that his passport had been revoked.

The next day, Monday the 24th, Assange announced that Snowden was about to travel to Ecuador on a flight making a stop in a third country, possibly Cuba or Venezuela, and said that the former agent was in a safe location inside the Moscow airport, waiting for his transfer to his final destination.

Known safe-conduct

The issuance of a safe-conduct in Snowden’s name was known by attorney Alexis Mera, one of President Rafael Correa’s closest advisors. Mera received a copy of the safe-conduct on Tuesday, June 25, three days after it was issued. In a communication that day, Narváez sent a copy of the document to him after Mera requested it.

“Dear Alexis, I am attaching what you requested,” wrote Narváez to Correa’s legal counsel in the message where he included the safe-conduct document as an attachment.

Narváez spoke to President Correa to give him his opinion about what Ecuador faced with the Snowden case, according to a message from Narváez to Mera.

“While I was deciding to prepare that document, in the early morning hours of last Saturday and under the unique circumstances that I explained to the President, my mind was invaded by the story I am attaching,” wrote Narváez, referring to an article he wrote and was sending to Correa via Mera.

Reactions to the safe-conduct

The exposure of the safe-conduct document on Univision’s newscast on Wednesday the 26th generated a tidal wave of responses and official statements in Ecuador.

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