CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday he had decided to offer asylum to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who has petitioned several countries to avoid capture by Washington.
“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 and live away from the imperial North American persecution,” Maduro told a televised parade marking Venezuela’s independence day.
Snowden is believed to be holed up in the transit area of a Moscow international airport.
(Reporting by Daniel Wallis and Deisy Biutrago; Editing by Sandra Maler)
Update, 9:09 p.m. EST: The Associated Press reported that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said in a speech on Friday that he would also offer Snowden asylum, if circumstances allow it.
“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.
[Image: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro talks to the media during a news conference in Port-au-Prince, in this handout photo provided by Miraflores Palace June 25, 2013. REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters]