You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Ecuador leader considers Snowden asylum request

Decision could cement Rafael Correa’s role in the region

“Be absolutely certain that we will analyze the Snowden case very responsibly,” says Rafael Correa.

JOSE JACOME/EPA

“Be absolutely certain that we will analyze the Snowden case very responsibly,” says Rafael Correa.

QUITO, Ecuador — A decision by Ecuador to embrace fugitive Edward J. Snowden would represent President Rafael Correa’s boldest attempt yet to step out from the shadow of the late Hugo Chavez and establish himself as Washington’s leading critic in Latin America.

Correa, 50, has long relished his role as a US adversary, and last year put his anti-American rhetoric to the test by allowing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to take refuge at Ecuador’s Embassy in London.

Continue reading below

In considering an asylum request by the former National Security Agency contractor, the stakes are even higher, after Secretary of State John F. Kerry lashed out at China and Russia for granting safe passage to the self-described whistle-blower. Whereas Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden in rape and sexual molestation cases, Snowden is evading charges under the US Espionage Act.

‘‘For Correa this is a chance for him to pick a fight, which he relishes,’’ said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington. ‘‘He’s no Chavez, but rhetorically he sees himself as a spokesman for the anti-American left in Latin America.’’

Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, said Monday that Ecuador is considering an asylum request by Snowden, whose actions he praised. Snowden traveled to Moscow from Hong Kong on Sunday and was booked onto a flight Monday to Havana, though he never boarded the plane.

‘‘The man who is shining light and seeking transparency over acts that affect the fundamental liberties of everyone is now being pursued by those that should give explanations to the government and citizens of the world,’’ Patino told a news conference in Hanoi on Monday.

Snowden has also sought asylum in Iceland and possibly other countries, Assange said Monday.

no word yet

Quote Icon

President Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, said the United States expects the Russians ‘‘to look at the options available to them to expel Mr. Snowden back to the United States to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged.’’

‘‘The Chinese have emphasized the importance of building mutual trust,’’ Carney added. ‘‘And we think that they have dealt that effort a serious setback.’’

Snowden, a former Booz Allen Hamilton Holding employee, said his life would be in danger if he were sent to the United States, according to a letter that Patino said was written by Snowden and which the foreign minister read at the news conference.

Patino declined to provide a timetable for acting on Snowden’s request, adding that any decision would be made in accordance with Ecuador’s constitution. Ecuador deliberated two months before granting Assange asylum.

Snowden fled to Hong Kong in May and identified himself as the source for revelations about programs to collect telephone and Internet data.

He later said the United States had hacked Chinese and Hong Kong targets since 2009 and had tapped Chinese mobile phone companies to steal millions of text messages, according to the South China Morning Post.

‘‘Be absolutely certain that we will analyze the Snowden case very responsibly,’’ Correa said Monday in a statement posted on Twitter. ‘‘We will make our decision with absolute sovereignty as we believe most fit.’’

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.