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Venezuela and Nicaragua make offers of asylum to Snowden


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The intelligence leaker remains holed up in the Moscow airport.

Venezuela and Nicaragua made offers of asylum to Edward Snowden on Friday. Venezuela in particular was the most unequivocal in offering Snowden protection from US prosecution.

President Nicholas Maduro made the offer during a televised announcement speech for Venezuela's independence day. “As head of state and government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young US citizen Edward Snowden so he can come to the fatherland of Bolivar and Chavez to live away from the imperial North American persecution,” the president said.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega also said his country was "open" and "respectful to the right of asylum." Ortega said he would welcome Snowden "if circumstances permit."

On Tuesday of this week, Bolivian President Evo Morales expressed his willingness to grant Snowden asylum as well. Morales' plane was later forced to land in Vienna on its way from Moscow, and Bolivian officials weren't shy about accusing the US of leaning on countries like France and Portugal to disrupt the president's flight due to a rumor that Snowden was on board. Earlier today, the BBC reports that “Spain's foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo admitted he and the other European countries had been told that Mr. Snowden was on board—but refused to say who gave out the information.”

According to the BBC, Snowden has asked 21 countries for asylum, although most have turned down the request. Snowden petitioned six new countries today, although Wikileaks said it won't share the names of those countries “due to attempted US interference.”

Currently, it appears that Snowden is still stuck in the transit area of a Moscow airport. The New York Times reports that “officials have expressed impatience over Mr. Snowden’s continuing sojourn in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport. On Thursday, a deputy foreign minister, Sergey A. Ryabkov, told reporters that Mr. Snowden should pick a destination and leave as soon as possible.”

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