• When Ecuadorian officials said they didn't need U.S. trade preferences, business leaders issued a swift response: Not so fast.
And with about half of Ecuador's exports heading to the United States and trade between the two nations totaling more than $16 billion last year, Correa probably will weigh their comments carefully, Shifter said. "Correa is a guy who on the one hand, he's very defiant of the United States and wants to be the rhetorical leader of the left in Latin America," Shifter said. "On the other hand, he's got a very broad coalition in Ecuador and is trying to be more pragmatic and attract foreign investment."
• After speaking with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden last month, Correa adopted a more measured tone. "We have to act very carefully but with courage," he said, "without contradicting our principles but with a lot of care, responsibility and respect, of course, towards the U.S. but also respect for the truth."
President Raul Castro hasn't shied away from talking about the Snowden case. He's hailed the former National Security Agency contractor's revelations and stressed that he supports fellow Latin American countries' right to grant Snowden asylum. But there are two key things he hasn't said: whether Cuba will grant asylum to Snowden and whether he'd allow a plane carrying the U.S. intelligence leaker to make a stopover in Cuba on the way to South America.
• Decades of hostile relations between the United States and Cuba and a tough economic embargo could mean that Cuba would have less to lose than other Latin American nations when it comes to granting asylum. With so many sanctions in place, said Philip Peters, president of the Cuba Research Center in Washington, "I don't know what more the United States could add."
• Official media in Cuba have painted Snowden as a hero. Cuba could decide to step in, Shifter said, "if there's an issue where it would have to do with Latin American pride and dignity and sovereignty."
• While granting Snowden asylum might be a step too far, letting a connecting flight carrying him land in Cuba might be an option. "I think there's a measure of risk in that for Cuba, but it may be OK if he doesn't stay there, if they're facilitating it as a transit stop," Shifter said. "But I think it would make them uneasy."
• There are signs that Washington's relationship with Havana is improving, such as a recent agreement to hold talks over bringing back direct mail between the two nations. And Cuba is hopeful about more developments in U.S. President Barack Obama's second term.
"I think that maybe Cuba does not want to complicate this process and risk the advances that have been made recently," Peters told CNN en Español. "I would guess that Cuba does not have an interest in receiving this man, and does not want to complicate the relationship with Washington. Even though it isn't a very good relationship, it is a relationship that has gotten a little better in recent months."