News / Europe

Russian Official: Venezuela Best Option for Snowden

Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs (file photo)Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs (file photo)
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Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs (file photo)
Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs (file photo)
VOA News
An influential Russian parliament member who often speaks for the Kremlin has encouraged former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden to accept Venezuela's offer of asylum.

Alexei Pushkov, who heads the international affairs committee in Russia's parliament, has posted several messages on Twitter about the case, including one Sunday that says "Venezuela is waiting for an answer from Snowden. This, perhaps, is his last chance to receive political asylum.''

Snowden is believed to be in the transit area of Moscow Airport since arriving on a flight from Hong Kong two weeks ago, unable to travel farther because the United States annulled his passport.

Meanwhile, Brazil's foreign minister says his government is worried about a newspaper report that the U.S. has collected data on billions of telephone and email conversations in his country. He promised an effort for international protection of Internet privacy.

Antonio Patriota said Brazil will demand an explanation from the United States. Brazil also plans to propose changes to international communications rules.

On Saturday, Bolivian President Evo Morales offered asylum to Snowden, becoming the third leftist Latin American leader to do so, following Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

It is not clear how the 30-year-old Snowden, who leaked secret details of surveillance programs conducted by the clandestine U.S. National Security Agency, will get to any of the Latin American nations.

American authorities want him extradited to the U.S. to stand trial on espionage charges, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused, even as he says he wants Snowden to leave for another country.

Snowden has sought asylum in more than 20 countries. But most of them have either turned him down or said he must be in their countries or one of their embassies before they will consider his asylum bid.

The NSA says the information it has collected helped foil terrorist attacks. Snowden has said Americans should know their government has them under surveillance.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: GH1618 from: USA
July 08, 2013 12:01 AM
Perhaps Snowden has read the travel information on Venezuela from the US Dept. Of State and is thinking that his "best choice" is not a good choice at all.

by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
July 07, 2013 11:45 AM
It looks like a conflict of interests for Mr. Pushkov known for his anti-Americanism, who speaks for the FSB (federal security service) ruled Kremlin, to advise Mr. Snowden to accept Venezuela’s offer of asylum. Earlier Mr. Snowden has expressed his willingness to get asylum in Nicaragua. Why is Mr. Pushkov so sympathizing to the tragic figure of Mr. Snowden? I wouldn’t bet on Mr. Pushkov’s concern . Wouldn’t be better the advice in the Latin phrase from Aeneid written by Virgil: “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” on Greeks with their notorious Trojan horse?

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