Global Economics

Where Snowden Could Go: 12 Top Countries for the NSA Leaker


Where Snowden Could Go: 12 Top Countries for the NSA Leaker

Photograph by The Guardian via Getty Images

Edward Snowden’s still on the hunt for political asylum, as his list of more than 20 candidate countries hasn’t led to any success so far. Considering almost every nation on Snowden’s list has an extradition treaty with the U.S., we figured he might have better luck in trying those that do not. As his hypothetical post-leak travel agency, we equally weighted two of his top priorities—Internet access and press freedom—among the nonextradition group to develop the definitive list of Snowden’s best bets.

1. Andorra:
Percentage of Internet users: 86%
Press freedom rank: 5
Pro: The sixth-highest life expectancy in the world
Con: A committed libertarian might want to note that the former tax haven has recently started collecting sales and business taxes.

2. Taiwan:
Percentage of Internet users: 76%
Press freedom rank: 47
Pro: Famous for its hyperlocal food specialties; a good tourism option for anyone who can’t leave the country
Con: The U.S. is one of the major supporters of Taiwan’s independence from China and provides its military with weapons and training.

3. Slovenia:
Percentage of Internet users: 70%
Press freedom rank: 35
Pro: Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, offers proximity to the Alps, the Mediterranean, and two water parks
Con: It also offers proximity to an active seismic zone.

4. Qatar:
Percentage of Internet users: 88%
Press freedom rank: 110
Pro: Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament
Con: Average summer temperatures top 100 degrees.

5. Kuwait:
Percentage of Internet users: 79%
Press freedom rank: 77
Pro: The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest-valued currency in the world
Con: Even without an extradition treaty, the government may have some reason to favor any request from Washington.

6. Moldova:
Percentage of Internet users: 43%
Press freedom rank: 55
Pro: Home to the largest underground wine cellar in the world
Con: Russia still has 2,500 troops and 22,000 tons of ammunition in the Moldovan region of Transdniestria.

7. Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Percentage of Internet users: 65%
Press freedom rank: 68
Pro: Massive monuments from the Soviet era remain in the country side, like the Valley of Heros Monument in Tjentiste.
Con: Smoking is permitted in almost all public places.

8. Republic of Macedonia:
Percentage of Internet users: 63%
Press freedom rank: 116
Pro: The first all-broadband wireless country in the world
Con: The most popular instrument in traditional Macedonian folk-music is the gajda, a small bagpipe.

9. Croatia:
Percentage of Internet users: 63%
Press freedom rank: 64
Pro: Croatia’s burek is a savory pie with a flaky crust filled with anything from spinach to meat.
Con: Croatia’s burek is a savory pie with a flaky crust filled with anything from spinach to meat.

10. Namibia:
Percentage of Internet users: 13%
Press freedom rank: 19
Pro: The official government language is English.
Con: Most of the country is desert.

11. Lebanon:
Percentage of Internet users: 61%
Press freedom rank: 101
Pro: Charlie Winston and Arturo Sandoval played at the last Beirut jazz festival.
Con: Due to spillover from the conflict in Syria, the U.S. State Department has advised Americans against traveling there.

12. Cape Verde:
Percentage of Internet users: 35%
Press freedom rank: 25
Pro: The average temperatures across the archipelago of 10 islands hovers around 75 degrees year round.
Con: Uh, where? Or maybe that’s just the right place for one of the most wanted men in the world.

McCann is a contributing graphics editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @atmccann.
Gambrell is a contributing graphics editor for Bloomberg Businessweek.

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