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2 nations offer Snowden asylum

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By The Associated Press
Friday, July 5, 2013, 9:39 p.m.

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Presidents Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela said on Friday they were willing to grant asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Snowden has asked for asylum in several countries, including Nicaragua and Venezuela.

“As head of state, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American Edward Snowden so that he can live (without) ... persecution from the empire,” Maduro said, referring to the United States. He made the offer during a speech marking the anniversary of Venezuela's independence. It was not immediately clear if there were any conditions to Venezuela's offer.

In Nicaragua, Ortega said he was willing to make the same offer “if circumstances allow it.” Ortega didn't say what the right circumstances would be when he spoke during a speech in Managua.

He said the Nicaraguan embassy in Moscow received Snowden's application for asylum and that it is studying the request.

“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.

The offers came amid the ongoing flap about the rerouting of Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane in Europe earlier this week amid reports that Snowden might have been aboard.

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