Are you wanted by the U.S. government?
If you are Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old who leaked Top Secret information about the NSA, the answer is yes. And you need a sympathetic country to offer you political asylum. Soon.
But where do you turn? Which countries could be willing to flout American interests and take you in?
This list is a careful balance between those countries with strained diplomatic relations with the U.S., or those with a history of welcoming American dissidents, and those places that are most livable (Apologies to North Korea).
Although Snowden's decision to seek refuge in Hong Kong, a country with a longstanding extradition treaty with the U.S., has been widely criticised, it may be a shrewd attempt to take advantage of a loophole. Hong Kong's High Court recently ordered a review of the nation's extradition policy. Until that happens, asylum seekers are allowed to stay in the region indefinitely.
With a long history of neutrality and beautiful views of the Alps, Switzerland is a great place to camp out if you're hiding from the U.S. government. Though the Swiss have an extradition treaty with the U.S., it has a few loopholes and the country has a bit of an independent streak. Just ask Marc Rich, who successfully dodged a federal indictment for tax evasion for years under the protection of the Swiss government.
While Brazil has an extradition treaty with the U.S., it has bucked American requests for extradition before. One recent example is the case of Claudia Hoerig, who is believed to have murdered her husband in Ohio before fleeing to Brazil. And oh, those beaches.
Iran has not had diplomatic relations with the United States for 30 years, let alone an extradition treaty, and you have to think they'd love to have a high-profile fugitive to taunt their American foes. Accused murderer David Belfield -- who converted to Islam and changed his name -- has been hiding in plain sight in Iran for decades. The Iranians won't let anyone touch him.
If Iran was too ... authoritarian regime, the government of the Cape Verde Islands also has no extradition treaty with the United States.The popular European vacation destination off of the coast of West Africa could serve as a beautiful place to hide from the U.S. intelligence network.
With food, wine, art, France sounds more like a vacation than a hideout. And though it has an extradition treaty with the United States, there are a couple of cases that make France a compelling place to seek asylum. Filmmaker Roman Polanski fled to France rather than face charges of sexual assaulting a 13-year-old in 1977. A French citizen, he was never turned over to American authorities. It even took France years to extradite Ira Einhorn, an American accused murderer, because they feared his rights may have been violated.
Though the political situation is subject to change with the death of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela remains a political foe of the United States. The socialist state has a largely cash based economy, so it's harder to track people. And though the country has an extradition treaty dated back to 1922, it's hardly actively in effect today, and the U.S. has refused to extradite criminals at the behest of the Venezuelan government in the past.
Ecuador has offered safe haven to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for months, and he remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Given that the country offered Assange asylum when the United Kingdom sought to extradite him to Sweden in a case they had nothing to do with, it's a safe bet they would consider doing it again.
Cuba is the clear number one choice. A tropical country with beautiful beaches and great food, it is already home to one of the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted: Assata Shakur, who is suspected of shooting a police officer and escaping prison in the 70s. Diplomatic relations between the Cubans and Americans have been ice cold for the past 50 years, and there's little chance they would ever extradite someone to the U.S.
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