Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has come through on an asylum offer to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, making the announcement on television during a the broadcast of a parade marking the country’s independence day.
On Friday Nicaragua also said that it would “gladly receive” Snowden, who is still holed up in a transit section of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since fleeing Hong Kong twelve days ago, and give him asylum, “if circumstances permit.”
“We are open, respectful of the right to asylum, and it is clear that if circumstances permit it, we would receive Snowden with pleasure and give him asylum here in Nicaragua,” Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega said at a public event.
Maduro, who often employs the same boisterous rhetoric employed by his predecessor and mentor, Hugo Chavez, has said Venezuela will shield the whistleblower from prosecution by the US.
“I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American, Edward Snowden, so that in the fatherland of Bolivar and Chavez, he can come and live away from imperial North American persecution,” said Maduro.
Venezuela has offered Snowden asylum despite a US extradition request, demanding that the whistleblower be “arrested” if he “travels to” or “transits through” Venezuela and “be kept in custody” for “the purpose of extradition”.