The Edward Snowden Challenge

Posted on 10. Jul, 2013 by in latin america

Edward Snowden – patriot or traitor? Whistleblower or attention whore? That’s beyond our scope here. Snowden has been offered asylum in Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Bolivia. Monroe Doctrine be damned, these leading antagonists to the US all hail from Latin America. Snowden must first arrive in those countries to take advantage, but we want to know: Of this glorious selection of anti-imperialist paradises, which would you choose Nicaragua, Venezuela, or Bolivia?


managua nicaragua

Arguably the original banana republic, Nicaragua turned anti-American when the Sandinistas took power. Ronald Reagan’s Ollie North turned Nicaragua into a Cold War battle, arming rebels in the Iran-Contra scandal. Since then the country has swayed between left and right, but is currently headed by Daniel Ortega of Sandinista fame.


  • Caribbean coastline.
  • Of our three choices, US Dollar income will go farthest in Nicaragua.
  • Due to British pirates and colonialism, there is a black, English-speaking population of Nicaraguans on the Caribbean coast (think San Andres).
  • According to the gringo press, Nicaragua seems the least hostile to business among Snowden options.
  • I’ve heard Nicaragua called “the new Costa Rica.”


  • With a mere 6 million, Nicaragua’s entire population is smaller than many world cities. At 2 million and some change, Managua is Nicaragua’s largest city.
  • Hurricanes and earthquakes and volcanoes. A trifecta.
  • Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas after Haiti.
  • I’ve heard Nicaragua called “the new Costa Rica.”



What can be said that I haven’t already said?


  • Arguably the most attractive people among the options.
  • Some economic measures indicate Venezuela as a richer country than Mexico or Brazil.
  • Best place to go to prison (if you have money).
  • Free gas.
  • Llanera (I suffered vallenato for years).
  • At just shy of 4 million, Caracas is the largest city in contention. And with almost 30 million, Venezuela is the largest country.


  • Arepas.
  • Chavismo.
  • Crime – you know a city’s bad when Colombians complain about having to travel to Caracas.
  • Shortages – basic staples including sugar and, most recently, toilet paper.
  • Llanera.


la paz bolivia

67% of Bolivians are indigenous, so it’s the only country Peruvians cop a snobby attitude towards. Bolivia has 37 official languages! Typical power inequalities between the indigenous majority and the traditional Spanish last names prompted the 2006 election of Evo Morales, an Aymara with roots in coca farming. Morales has emerged as the foremost anti-American in the region after the death of Hugo Chavez.


  • The Indian thing, if you like the Indian thing.
  • Best cocaine in the world (see Marching Powder).
  • A surprising number of backpackers doing the South American circuit have told me their favorite city was La Paz.


  • The Indian thing, if you like the Spanish thing.
  • No coastline.
  • Average temperature in La Paz is 45 degrees Farenheit (7 degrees Celsius), with a high of 59 F (15 C) and a low of -2 F (-19 C).

Any pros or cons I’m forgetting? Leave them in the comments!


[poll id=8]


Inverted Edward Snowden Challenge

Each anti-American bastion has a staunch ally counterpart. Which country would you choose to spend all your days if the choices were Costa Rica, Colombia, or Peru?

Handicapping Snowden

Otto Rock at IKN has odds going on various destinations. At 3 days the odds are a little dated (Iceland’s off the table), and I’d give better odds to Uncle Sam, but it’s a fun read anyway.

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9 Responses to “The Edward Snowden Challenge”

  1. Casey

    10. Jul, 2013

    Ah, Nicaragua. I have been living on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua for five years now. This is the most remote and least developed part of the country, already well behind the other two choices.

    Never having visited Bolivia or Venezuela, I had to cast my vote for right here. You can’t beat Corn Island…where else can a fugitive hide out from the US govt. on a Caribbean english speaking island drinking coconuts and fishing for dinner from his $10/night room on the beach?

    Ahn no fahget bout deh gyal dem.

  2. Zac

    10. Jul, 2013

    Venezuelan arepas are good, loaded up with all kinds of different shit with the arepa wrapped around it.

  3. Andy

    10. Jul, 2013

    The big question is really, can he get to any of those countries. Providing he can get to the country of his choice, I would recommend Venezuela, for a completely different reason.

    Snowden has technical talents that will allow him to make a very comfortable living in whatever country he get’s to. Provided that country has industry that has reached that level of sophistication.

    Of the countries offered, Venezuela, and the oil industry in particular, would be at that level of IT sophistication. His IT skills would put him in relatively high demand.

    So, if he could get out of Moscow and get to one of those countries without the US forcing his plane down, that would be his best choice. However, that’s a big “if”. I bet he stays in the Moscow airport until the Russians decide there’s more value in appeasing rather than the US Government over something meaningless.

  4. Andy

    11. Jul, 2013

    Apparently the plot is thickening. Obama’s visiting Moscow in September. Methinks this will be resolved by then.

    Interesting companion piece:

  5. TransMillennium

    11. Jul, 2013


    Even tough we Colombians usually say that Venezuela it’s a “shitty place” (official news), it is our sister nation and we shere a lot of comonnalities, also it’s very easy to have the Venezuelan nacionality because they want more voters.

    Venezuela has a lot of beautiful girls. See. Miss Universo.

    Venezuela has a sea, unlike Bolivia and has more climates than Nicaragua.

    Right now I’m parcialized against Nicaragua because of the San Andrés case and because I don’t trust that few months after it, they are now going to build their own canal. ($$$$ for the Judges?)

  6. Mark

    13. Jul, 2013

    “Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas after Haiti (Cuba doesn’t count).”

    Why doesn’t Cuba count? Not anti-American enough for you? Hahaha.

    I’d go with Bolivia. One of my favorite countries not only in Latin America but the world (and yes, I’m in to the Indian thing). Yes it’s elevated and it’s cold, but it’s also got the jungles around Rurrenabaque, and the beautiful town of Sucre.

  7. Wesmouch

    14. Jul, 2013

    You did not give Bolivia a fair shake. anta Cruz in the eastn part has a tropical climate and beautiful women.

  8. Zach

    20. Jul, 2013

    That’s a hard choice…Bolivia would be paradise with the coke! I remember bricks for a $100. Yet the women situation is hard there. So split the middle with Venzuela ! Beautiful women and cheap coke….ahhh

  9. Tino

    10. Sep, 2013

    So funny you say Peruvians cop a snobbish attitude towards Bolivians…because Bolivians also cop a snobbish attitude towards Peruvians. I’n fact, I’m noticing that they don’t see them with good eyes and avoid purchasing Peruvian goods, for example (this does not happen with products from other countries such as Chile, no name one), so what you mention is rather interesting…the most similar two countries in Latin America and they repel each other.
    Also, there are beautiful girls in Santa Cruz (Eastern Bolivia), in fact, you don’t believe you are in Bolivia anymore, and I also noticed a few attractive ones in the Bolivian South…as far as La Paz, you basically need to go to the wealthy areas of the city (where the upper classes live) and you can also find a few beautiful ones, not as many as in Santa Cruz, but there are some.

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