With a new piece of news just about everyday about his situation, Edward Snowden's options are hazy. Time marches on, however, and as it does Snowden loses options. So, what is there left for this former U.S. defense contractor living in limbo at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport? Asylum or return. It would seem that Snowden would certainly prefer the former, but news this week has not made much clearer. It appears that Snowden is going to pursue asylum in Venezuela.
This is, from his perspective, probably the best option. It is also probably the most difficult because it would involve flying through American or allied airspace, which has been shown to cause problems. Three countries had offered him asylum from outside of their borders: Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Until Monday, Venezuela seemed almost a certainty. The Venezuelan foreign minister said that they would wait until Monday to get confirmation from Snowden that he will come for asylum. No information has yet come from the Venezuelan government on whether or not there was confirmation.
This deadline, though, was clearly informal, meaning that Snowden's limbo will just continue on for a while longer. Equally as likely, plans could be in motion to move Snowden from Moscow to Venezuela. The Venezuelan government could have just kept quiet any information regarding such movement. The wise choice to avoid public interference by citizens of any country or world leaders would prevent another Evo Morales-like plane grounding should Snowden attempt to fly there.
Furthermore, there are only a limited number of routes that could be taken by plane to avoid problems. Even if one of the two non-confrontational routes is chosen, it would be best to use discretion and avoid protest from the U.S., as well as inhibit its ability to pressure governments between points A and B for the plane to land.
The last reason that Snowden's best option is Venezuela is that its president, Nicolas Maduro, has remained a strong advocate. He has offered him a new "home" in Venezuela. Maduro is also the type of durable, ideological leader to be the rock against which waves of U.S. pressure will just break and dissipate.
It is conjecture to say that this is taking place. It is astute to see that this is the best option for him. President Putin is growing weary of Snowden's presence and there will only be fewer options as time continues to slip away. After more allegations and diplomatic speed bumps from Latin American nations yesterday, the United States has obvious interest in stopping further damage from Snowden, but also in serving justice. Snowden signed a non-disclosure agreement and has demonstrated his lack of care for the ideals he "imbues"; legally, there is no question of his guilt. Regardless of what goes on in the United States or elsewhere, asylum in Venezuela seems his best chance for freedom and details from the past week seem to point in that direction.