Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., called for sanctions to be brought against any country that would offer asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
In an interview with David Gregory on Meet the Press Sunday, Menendez was asked what he thought was a suitable response to countries offering to shelter Snowden.
“It’s very clear that any country that accepts Snowden, offers him political asylum, is taking a step against the United States,” Menendez said. “I think you have to look whether it’s at trade preferences that may exist with these countries, other elements of our policy our aid, our trade.”
Three countries — all in South America — have offered to give Snowden asylum: Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.
“Any acceptance of Snowden to any country — to these three countries or any other — puts them against the United States and they need to know that,” Menendez said.
According to the BBC, Snowden has requested asylum from 21 countries, Wikileaks reported earlier this month. Eight requests sent to European countries were declared invalid and others were refused.
Menendez said he was not surprised at the asylum offering because these three countries like to “stick it” to the United States.
President Barack Obama has been criticized for leaving Latin America out of foreign policy, according to ThinkProgress.
Given the anti-American rhetoric of Hugo Chavez, there are no questions as to why Venezuela does not have a warm fuzzy feeling about the United States.
Snowden is reportedly still in the transit lounge of the Moscow airport and unable to enter Russia because he has no passport or visa.