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Russian Official: Venezuela Best Option for Snowden

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.

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