Photo: Flags of Nicaragua and Venezuela
Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega appears to be offering alleged U.S. and NSA leaker Edward Snowden asylum. Other reports indicate that Venezuela is also ready to offer Snowden asylum.
Reportedly Snowden while sitting in a Moscow airport had applied to 21 countries seeking asylum. Thus far no takers until today when Ortega said he would grant Snowden asylum in Nicaragua if “circumstances permit” and Maduro said he is also welcome.
Ortega was speaking at a public event when he made the announcement and stated he was open to the idea of asylum and “would receive Snowden with pleasure” if the circumstances were right. He also confirmed that Nicaragua was one of the countries Snowden had applied.
The asylum application was received in Moscow at the Nicaraguan embassy there.
Reuters is reporting that President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela has also just agreed to offer Snowden asylum. In a statement Maduro said “I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American, Edward Snowden, so that in the fatherland of (Simon) Bolivar and (Hugo) Chavez, he can come live away from the imperial North American persecution.” Several days ago Maduro praised Snowden’s actions but stop short of offering asylum.
Snowden, 30, has been on the run since last month after disclosing he had hacked sensitive documents while working as a contractor to the U.S. government and then leaking them to the press. The documents were sensitive and pertained to U.S. surveillance practices. The U.S. has since revoked his passport and charged him with espionage. After fleeing Hong Kong and being on the run, the U.S. urged many countries to not accept his request for asylum. Many thought he would end up in a Latin American country such as Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia, since they had expressed support of Snowden’s actions.
All this comes on the heals of Bolivia’s presidential plane with President Evo Morales aboard denied the right to fly over certain European airspace this week. In addition the plane was search and detained for over 10 hours in Vienna on suspicions that Snowden was aboard the plane. Many Latin American leaders took this as a diplomatic affront.