HAVANA TIMES — Former Cuban president Fidel Castro expressed his support today for the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, amid tensions with the United States over the case of former US intelligence agent Edward Snowden.
Castro, 86, removed from power for the last seven, referred to Correa in a letter addressed to the President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, published in the official website CubaDebate. In it, the former Cuban president also praised Nicolas Maduro, successor to the late Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela.
“I cannot conclude without expressing my words of sympathy for Rafael Correa,” Castro said, praising the president for rejecting “threats” from the United States in the Snowden case.
“Ecuador does not accept pressure or threats from anyone,” Castro quoted the Ecuadorian president as having said. Castro did not, however, make more references to Snowden, who criticizes the Obama administration for the massive secret surveillance of citizens.
The Cuban media have reported these days about the case of the former US analyst, but without addressing the possible role of Havana in his flight.
Castro, a fierce opponent of the United States after the triumph of the revolution in 1959, is now retired in his home in Havana. The historic Cuban leader sporadically publishes opinion pieces or letters to leaders of other countries, in recent times less regularly.
Tensions between Quito and Washington escalated in recent days after it became known that Snowden had requested asylum in the South American country. The former employee of the US National Security Agency (NSA) recently made public the massive spying operation by the United States and United Kingdom.
Snowden fled to Hong Kong after filtering the data on the Internet spy programs to the media and traveled to Moscow a week ago. The informant has not traveled thus far to Quito. Russian media reports assumed that Snowden would try traveling to Ecuador via Havana last week.
At the moment it is not known with certainty the whereabouts of the fugitive, supposedly hidden in the transit area of the Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport.
Meanwhile, the United States urged Ecuador not give asylum to Snowden. President Correa responded to threats this week from US lawmakers by unilaterally giving up the tariff preferences that Washington provided Ecuador since years ago.