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Snowden affair dampens already cool US-Latin America ties

America is pivoting to Asia and focused on the Mideast. Yet the region Secretary of State John Kerry once called the U.S. "backyard" is sprouting angry weeds fed by the scandal involving intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have already said they'd be willing to grant asylum for Snowden, who is wanted on espionage charges for revealing the scope of National Security Agency surveillance programs that spy on Americans and foreigners. Ecuador has said it would consider any request from him.

U.S. relations with these countries were already testy. But the Snowden affair also has dampened the Obama administration's effort to improve ties with friendlier nations in the region like Mexico and Brazil.

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