With Edward Snowden stuck in Moscow and the U.S. pushing hard for his return, many Ecuadorans are realizing that their small country has deep economic ties to the U.S. and it may be the one with the most to lose in the high-stakes international showdown over the National Security Agency leaker.

While President Rafael Correa's leftist government is virtually silent on Snowden's request for asylum, analysts in Ecuador say Snowden's fate, or at least his safe harbor in Ecuador, could depend as much on frozen vegetables and flowers as questions on secrecy.

China, Russia or Cuba are countries where the U.S. has relatively few tools to force Snowden's handover, but the Obama administration could hit Ecuador by denying reduced tariffs on cut flowers, artichokes and frozen vegetables.