Quantcast

Thursday, July 24, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 28 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Venezuela eyed as Snowden seeks asylum

By Nataliya Vasilyeva

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 08:59 a.m. HST, Jul 02, 2013


MOSCOW » NSA leaker Edward Snowden's best chance of finding refuge outside the United States may hinge on the president of Venezuela, who was in Moscow today meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

With a string of countries appearing to offer Snowden little hope, President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela told Russian reporters today that his country has not received an application for asylum from Snowden and dodged the question of whether he would take Snowden with him when he left.

But Maduro also defended the former National Security Agency systems analyst who released sensitive documents on U.S. intelligence-gathering operations.

"He did not kill anyone and did not plant a bomb," Maduro said ahead of his meeting with Putin, the Interfax news agency reported. "What he did was tell a great truth in an effort to prevent wars. He deserves protection under international and humanitarian law."

During his Kremlin meeting with Putin, Maduro spoke about plans to build on the strong ties with Russia formed under his late predecessor, Hugo Chavez, but neither he nor Putin mentioned Snowden in their public statements.

The Kremlin-friendly newspaper Izvestia reported Monday that the two presidents would discuss Snowden, adding to speculation that arrangements would be made for him to travel to Venezuela. Snowden had initially booked flights to Havana, Cuba, and then on to Caracas, Venezuela, before becoming trapped in legal limbo, believed to be unable to leave a Moscow airport transit zone.

Another option for Snowden may be Bolivia, whose president also met with Putin during a summit of major gas exporters in the Kremlin. President Evo Morales said in an interview with Russia Today television that Bolivia would be willing to consider granting asylum to Snowden.

Maduro this evening again spoke out in support of Snowden, without giving any more indication of whether he would help him leave Russia.

"Who must protect Snowden? This is the question. This young man of 29 was brave enough to say that we need to protect the world from the American imperial elite, so who should protect him?" Maduro said in response to a question from journalists covering a ceremony to rename a Moscow street after Chavez. "All of mankind, people all over the world must protect him."

Maduro was scheduled to spend Wednesday in neighboring Belarus before returning to Venezuela.

Snowden, who recently turned 30, withdrew a bid for asylum in Russia when he learned the terms Moscow had set out, according to Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Putin said on Monday that Russia was ready to shelter Snowden as long as he stopped leaking U.S. secrets.

At the same time, Putin said he had no plans to turn over Snowden to the United States.

Snowden has applied for asylum in Venezuela, Bolivia and 18 other countries, according to WikiLeaks, a secret spilling website that has been advising him. Many European countries on the list — including Austria, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Switzerland — said he would have to make his request on their soil.

Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, whose consent for asylum would be required, said in a message posted on Twitter that he would not grant the request. Germany's Interior Ministry specifically ruled it out too, saying that "the conditions to take him in are not there."

WikiLeaks said requests have also been made to Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Iceland, India, Italy and Nicaragua.

India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said Delhi has carefully examined the asylum request and decided to turn it down. And Brazil's Foreign Ministry spokesman Tovar da Silva Nunes said the government "does not plan to respond" to the asylum request.

WikiLeaks also posted a statement attributed to Snowden on its website late Monday, in which he slams President Barack Obama for "using citizenship as a weapon."

"Although I am convicted of nothing, (the United States) has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person," Snowden says in the statement. "Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

"Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me."

The Russian government says that Snowden, who has been on the run since releasing the sensitive NSA documents, has remained in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport since his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23.

Ecuador, where he had initially hoped to get asylum, has been giving mixed signals about offering him shelter.

Britain's Press Association news agency said it had obtained a letter from Snowden to Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa thanking him for considering his asylum request.

"There are few world leaders who would risk standing for the human rights of an individual against the most powerful government on earth, and the bravery of Ecuador and its people is an example to the world," PA quoted the letter as saying. The agency said it had obtained the Spanish-language letter from sources in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

Correa, however, appeared cool to Snowden in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.

Asked whether he would like to meet Snowden, Correa was quoted as saying: "Not particularly. He's a very complicated person. Strictly speaking, Mr. Snowden spied for some time."

He was quoted as saying that Ecuador would not consider an asylum request until Snowden was on its territory and his government would not help him travel to Ecuador.

Associated Press writers Lynn Berry and Laura Mills in Moscow, Frank Jordans in Berlin, George Jahn in Vienna, Matti Huutanen in Helsinki, Finland, Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland, Angela Charlton in Paris, Ciaran Giles in Madrid, Spain, and AP researchers Zhao Liang and Yu Bing in Beijing contributed to this report.







 Print   Email   Comment | View 28 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

COMMENTS
(28)
You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
cojef wrote:
Guess, Snowden's only exit out of Russia is with Maduro since his passport has been revoked, Any other South or Central American country would be wise not take any position to displease the US, for fear of losing the "Free Trade" options now being exercised by them with the US. Venenzuela doesn't give doodlie-poop about us, so that's moot situation. All other countries have recognized that Snowden is a "stateless person" and cannot exist the Soviets, and if he choose to remain in Russia, he cannot leak anymore information. Stalemate or checkmate.
on July 2,2013 | 07:16AM
loquaciousone wrote:
The US has reduced it's dependency for oil from Venezuela and is in fact responsible for 20 percent of Venezuela's finished oil consumption. No matter the rhetoric that comes out of Venezuela's Presidents, they need us more than we need them.
on July 2,2013 | 07:24AM
allie wrote:
agree...Snowden is a loser who has hurt national security. His egocentric arrogance is endless. I thought everyone knew our government was gathering big data. All governments are. 99.9999999 % have nothing to hide. The data gathering is legal, approved by Congress and reviewed by the courts. If citizens do not want the level of protection that data provides us, we can vote for a different Congress. Wait until the next terrorist strike occurs and see how many will curse Snowden.
on July 2,2013 | 07:50AM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
Good post, Allie.
on July 2,2013 | 08:27AM
allie wrote:
:)
on July 2,2013 | 09:54AM
thevisitor967 wrote:
Agree, Allie. Snowden is an idiot. Before he released the confidential information, didn't he already know where he would seek asylum? He really thought China would help him? And big deal about the U.S. checking our phone bills, emails, etc. Isn't that already a given? I just don't understand how someone who was on the job for 3 months or so was able to get all this info.
on July 2,2013 | 08:46AM
allie wrote:
Odd that Snowden is only considering asylum in some of the worst countries in terms of freedom of speech and press. All are authoritarian countries with terrible human rights records. USA is far from perfect but we are far better than the countries he proposes to go to.
on July 2,2013 | 09:54AM
scooters wrote:
Home Alone!
on July 2,2013 | 07:19AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Snowden will get snowed in, in a Russian airport.
on July 2,2013 | 07:46AM
AshesofAngels wrote:
This dude will be lucky if he makes it to a Federal Prison! Home Boi is going to be whisked away by some alphabet agency agents of a pretentious friendly government or some contractors and he is going to wish they Water-board him compared to what they have in-stored for him! This dude's life is going to start to suck real quick!
on July 2,2013 | 08:32AM
loquaciousone wrote:
G U L A G
on July 2,2013 | 08:52AM
hukihei wrote:
I hope this man has saved up some money. Going to countries where there are so many poor, he can't simply depend on that country's resources. And perhaps this is the lesson being taught here, with the "right" to be a whistleblower comes the obligation to pay your own way. The walls of this prison are of his own making.
on July 2,2013 | 08:57AM
dyw001 wrote:
Money will not be a problem. He will be working for WikiLeaks.
on July 2,2013 | 09:59AM
false wrote:
The posters here might reflect upon how they have become the citizens of the novel, 1984, the good citizens, loyal to Big Brother, who viewed those hostile to Bug Brother as traitors to the Homeland. Seriously, folks. It is not too late. You CAN regain the love for liberty which once beat in your heart and was NOT simply a marketing slogan for the armed forces.

When the discussion gets to having background checks on those who want to buy high-powered weapons, these pages get flooded with many decrying "tyranny"! And the modest proposals from President Obama to expand healthcare coverage drew cries of "Socialism!" But this clear and massive violation of the Fourth Amendment, aimed not at terrorist per se, but at ALL Americans who use the Internet or a cellphone, THIS elicits the sound of crickets chirping?

I have seen people grumbling about the power of "the Democratic Machine" that runs the state of Hawaii, which causes people to fear declaring they are Republicans or to state their actual political beliefs under their own names (rather than online pseudonyms) out of fear their careers might suffer. But you would turn over all your confidential information to a J. Edgar Hoover or a Richard Nixon (or a "Kenyan Socialist") because you have been TOLD it will help prevent terrorist attacks? What is the phrase, "sheeple"?

Perhaps some of you filled with a false, cartoonish estimation of your "patriotism" would reflect upon the words of Ben Franklin:

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”


on July 2,2013 | 09:23AM
TLehel wrote:
Agree. Most people think their thought process is logical and they have a mind of their own, but really they're just following what they've been doggy trained to think is right. Until you start listening to that voice in your head that's trying to tell you something isn't right, you're just meet for the grinder.
on July 2,2013 | 12:03PM
Waokanaka wrote:
Let the rat rot in some tin horn dictator's country. Maybe then, this traitor will realize what he betrayed. Now that he has no country of citizenship, he MIGHT understand what freedom really is. It's what he willingly gave up in his pursuit of 15 minutes of fame. Rot in the 3rd world, you rat !!
on July 2,2013 | 09:36AM
gobows wrote:
Snowden is a risk to any country that takes him. He was a spy. So what makes a country believe he won't turn on them at some point in time. Once a spy, always a spy. Never can be trusted.
on July 2,2013 | 09:39AM
allie wrote:
yup..he will wear out his welcome fast
on July 2,2013 | 09:55AM
gobows wrote:
Once you turn on your home country....ie United States. You no longer have any rights like an any American would. Go live in the jungle. The monkeys and gorillas will give you asylum.
on July 2,2013 | 09:41AM
XML808 wrote:
Having had the great fortune of traveling around the world, I can honestly say I would never want to live anywhere else. Yes, this country has problems but so does every other country on this planet. Maybe Snowden will realize this one day.
on July 2,2013 | 10:10AM
cojef wrote:
Naivete', poor soul. A person without any place to go, plus what is in store for him in the future. How does he propose to live the rest of his life. His sacrifices were great as far human rights are concerned, but the reality is, does his deeds warrant economic rewards. Who is willing to subsidize his future releases and for how long? Then what, get dropped like hot potato and left with your heroic memories, but no bread and butter in the larder. WikiLeaks may be subsidizing his current living expenses, but even they, have limited resources. Have mix emotions on this folk hero(to some) and do not envy his current position or situation..
on July 2,2013 | 10:38AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
I guess the dude is finding out the hard way that no one wants to harbor someone who stole and released state secrets because no country wants the same thing to happen to them. About now Snowden should realize just how far he over reached on this and if he hasn't realized it yet, the man is already incarcerated, it just happens to be in an arrival lounge in an international airport in Moscow. He should be in custody soon enough. After a while even the Russians will be done with him.
on July 2,2013 | 10:16AM
allie wrote:
yup
on July 2,2013 | 11:36AM
gobows wrote:
LIving in Hawaii....making six digit income....dating a pole dancer.......just wasn't good enough for him.........is this the definition of "Feckless"?
on July 2,2013 | 10:37AM
DownSpout wrote:
I wonder what the father is thinking now? Last week Daddy was laying out conditions for coming home that he thought would be acceptable to his son. Since then, young Mr. Snowjob's Wikileaks handlers have had him burning ever more bridges. Daddy may be at wits end.
on July 2,2013 | 10:58AM
false wrote:
The fact he had access to so much information shows how insecure the confidential information collected by the NSA is. Snowden is one of tens of thousands of people with the security clearance to have access to this information. Snowden is a Ron Paul supporter and he used his access consistent with his beliefs. What are the politics of the others? How many Tea Party enthusiasts, Obama-lovers, Obama-haters, leftwingers, rightwingers? How many of them do you WANT to have access to your private iformation?

You are mistaken if you think the surveillance was limited to "phone bills, emails,etc." It appears the NSA was archiving the actual phonecalls of tens of millions of Americans and are aiming to be able to collect ALL calls. And ALL text messages, emails, shopping records, bank records, etc.

We warn our kids not to send nu de pictures to their sweethearts-- you know, like a lot of military wives did to their husbands overseas? All those transmissions have been recorded and are open for inspection without a specific court order showing "probable cause." You visit a porn site on your computer? That goes into your permanent record to be used later one if SOMEONE finds you annoying enough to research. The East German secret police, the Stasi, WISHED they had such abilities.


on July 3,2013 | 11:16AM
false wrote:
The fact he had access to so much information shows how insecure the confidential information collected by the NSA is. Snowden is one of tens of thousands of people with the security clearance to have access to this information. Snowden is a Ron Paul supporter and he used his access consistent with his beliefs. What are the politics of the others? How many Tea Party enthusiasts, Obama-lovers, Obama-haters, leftwingers, rightwingers? How many of them do you WANT to have access to your private iformation?

You are mistaken if you think the surveillance was limited to "phone bills, emails,etc." It appears the NSA was archiving the actual phonecalls of tens of millions of Americans and are aiming to be able to collect ALL calls. And ALL text messages, emails, shopping records, bank records, etc.


on July 3,2013 | 11:16AM
false wrote:

We warn our kids not to send nude pictures to their sweethearts-- you know, like a lot of military wives did to their husbands overseas? All those transmissions have been recorded and are open for inspection without a specific court order showing "probable cause." You visit a pron site on your computer? That goes into your permanent record to be used later one if SOMEONE finds you annoying enough to research. The East German secret police, the Stasi, WISHED they had such abilities.


on July 3,2013 | 11:18AM
IN OTHER NEWS
Breaking News