Managua/Caracas (dpa) - Nicaragua and Venezuela would give
political asylum to U.S. intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden,
their presidents said Friday.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said he would grant the asylum to "with pleasure, if circumstances permit."
Ortega confirmed that Nicaragua was one of several countries that Snowden solicited for asylum, via Managua's embassy in Russia.
"We are an open country, respectful of the right of asylum, and it is clear that if circumstances permit we would receive Snowden here with pleasure," he said.
Ortega condemned European countries that refused to allow the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales to enter their airspace due to unfounded suspicions that Snowden might have been aboard last week.
"That is the unity of empire, the same that has oppressed the people of our Americas," he said. "They are the same old colonialists, humiliating the peoples of other nations."
Snowden has been in diplomatic limbo in the transit zone of a Moscow airport after revealing a secret and extensive internet spying and other US government surveillance programmes.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also offered Snowden asylum "from imperial North American persecution."
He made the comments during a miliary parade celebrating the country's independence, and said that several Latin American governments agreed that Snowden deserved protection.
"Who is the terrorist: a young man of 29 who tells the truth, or the government of the United States that protects Luis Posada Carriles who is sought by our government?" Maduro said.
Declassified US government records identify the Cuban exile Posada as a former CIA agent and one of the "engineer[s]" of the 1976 terrorist bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 passengers.
He escaped in 1985 from a Venezuelan prison where he was being held on charges for that crime. Since 2005, Posada has been in the US, where the government has refused Venezuela's extradition request.
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