Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced through state media Friday that the country is offering asylum to NSA leaker Edward J. Snowden.
A government news site announced that Maduro (pictured) was offering Snowden “humanitarian asylum.” The Venezuelan President, who recently came to power after the death of Hugo Chavez, said the move was intended “to protect this young man from imperialist persecution.”
Maduro attacked the U.S. to justify his offer to Snowden, accusing the country of giving “political asylum” to Luis Posada Carriles, a man convicted in absentia by Panama for terrorism against Castroite Cuba but acquitted in the States.
WikiLeaks founder and Snowden supporter Julian Assange urged Snowden to “go to Latin America” in a June 11th interview with Anderson Cooper, saying, “Latin America has shown in the past 10 years that it is really pushing forward in human rights. There’s a long tradition of asylum.”
Venezuela is governed by the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (United Socialist Party of Venezuela), which was formed in 2007 by the late strongman Chavez. Chavez took particular delight at poking at the United States. For instance, he accused “the North American empire of being the biggest menace to our planet,” and he once quipped: “The left is back, and it’s the only path we have to get out of the spot to which the right has sunken us. Socialism builds and capitalism destroys.”
Snowden sent asylum applications to twenty countries, but most rejected him. WikiLeaks announced on Twitter Friday: “Edward #Snowden has applied to another six countries for asylum. They will not be named at this time due to attempted US interference.”
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega also gave a speech offering Snowden asylum “if circumstances allow it,” but he did not explain what the needed circumstances would be.