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Ear to the Ground

Venezuela, Nicaragua Offer Snowden Asylum

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Posted on Jul 5, 2013

After spending almost two weeks in the no man’s land transit area of Moscow’s international airport, whistle-blower Edward Snowden may finally have a destination.

While celebrating Venezuela’s independence day, President Nicolas Maduro said he would offer “humanitarian asylum” to Snowden.

President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, who once fought a proxy war with the United States, also said he would welcome Snowden “if circumstances allow it.” The Associated Press quotes Ortega as saying, “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.”

The leaker, who revealed the United States’ massive domestic surveillance program, among other secrets, has been charged and hunted by the Obama administration. The White House has been critical of both China and Russia for allowing Snowden to travel from Hong Kong to Moscow, although Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he was surprised by Snowden’s arrival in his country and hopes he would move along soon.

A plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales was controversially diverted like a ping pong ball around Europe, allegedly because Morales had also offered Snowden asylum and the U.S. and its allies thought the president might be spiriting the young man out of Russia.

Just how Snowden plans to get from Moscow to Caracas, Managua or Sucre, and whether Putin will let him go, remain open questions.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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