Venezuela offers Snowden 'humanitarian asylum' free of US 'empire's persecution'

Ortega says Nicaragua will accept NSA leaker if 'circumstances allow it'
2013-07-06T00:00:00Z Venezuela offers Snowden 'humanitarian asylum' free of US 'empire's persecution'The Associated Press The Associated Press
July 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The president of Venezuela offered Friday to grant asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, one day after leftist South American leaders gathered to denounce the rerouting of Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane over Europe amid reports that the American was aboard.

President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua said his country would consider it.

The presidents made the statements during speeches in their home countries Friday afternoon. Snowden has asked for asylum in numerous countries, including Nicaragua and Venezuela.

"As head of state, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American Edward Snowden so that he can live (without) ... persecution from the empire," President Nicolas Maduro said, referring to the United States.

He made the offer during a speech marking the anniversary of Venezuela's independence. It was not immediately clear if there were any conditions to Venezuela's offer.

In Nicaragua, Ortega said he was willing to make the same offer "if circumstances allow it." Ortega didn't say what the right circumstances would be when he spoke during a speech in Managua.

He said the Nicaraguan Embassy in Moscow received Snowden's application for asylum and that it is studying the request.

"We have the sovereign right to help a person who felt remorse after finding out how the United States was using technology to spy on the whole world, and especially its European allies," Ortega said.

The offers came following a flap about the rerouting of Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane in Europe earlier this week amid reports that Snowden might have been aboard.

Spain on Friday said it had been warned along with other European countries that Snowden, a former U.S. intelligence worker, was aboard the Bolivian presidential plane, an acknowledgement that the manhunt for the fugitive leaker had something to do with the plane's unexpected diversion to Austria.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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