Maduro Confirms Venezuela Received Official Snowden Asylum Request

Created: 2013-07-09 10:41 EST

Category: World > South America

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro confirmed on Monday (July 08) that the South American nation received an official request for asylum from U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden.

Maduro says he will offer Snowden asylum.

[Nicolas Maduro, Venezuelan President]:
"We received an application letter for asylum from Snowden. He will need to decide when to fly here, if he definitely wants to fly here. The fact is, Latin America is a humanitarian territory and it's growing by day. This is probably the only humanitarian asylum or collective political asylum which includes several countries. It is a collective humanitarian asylum where the territory of various countries of our Latin America is always humanitarian.”

Snowden, 30, was charged by the U.S. with three counts of felony after he disclosed a highly-classified surveillance program code named PRISM which intercepted e-mails and phone calls of millions of people.

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has advised foreign governments that allowing Snowden to land on their territory could seriously damage their relations with the United States.

Shrugging off U.S. pressure, Maduro talked up Venezuela's sovereignty.

[Nicolas Maduro, Venezuelan President]:
"The United States does not govern the world nor does it govern us. We are a free country and sovereign and no one governs us, just the Venezuelan people, the legitimate government elected by the people."

When asked if he has had an opportunity to speak with Snowden, Maduro said: "No, but I would like to."

Tags: venezuela  snowden  spy  maduro  us  asylum  obama