Accessibility links

Breaking News

Venezuela Receives Snowden Asylum Request

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden giving an interview about why he leaked intelligence information.
Venezuela has received an official asylum request from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

President Nicolas Maduro confirmed the request Monday. He said Snowden will have to decide when and if he wants to fly to Venezuela.

He made the comments hours after the Nicaraguan Embassy in Moscow said it had received an asylum request letter from Snowden.

The leaders of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia had said they would take in the 30-year-old Snowden, who leaked secret details of surveillance programs conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency.

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 U.S. annulled his passport.

It is not clear how Snowden would travel to Venezuela. Cuba, a key transit point from Russia on the way to Latin America, has not said whether it would allow him to pass through.

However, Cuban President Raul Castro has voiced his support for the Latin American nations offering asylum to Snowden.

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.

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.

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