MEXICO, July 8 (RIA Novosti) – Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said Monday that his country had received a request for political asylum from fugitive ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden and awaits his arrival.
“We have received a letter [from Snowden] with a request for asylum,” Maduro was quoted by Venezuelan media.
“He has to decide now when he wants to fly to Caracas if he finally decides to do so,” Maduro said.
The Venezuelan president announced on Saturday that Caracas would be willing to grant Snowden asylum.
Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking details of secret state surveillance programs, arrived in Russia on a flight to Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23. The US authorities have revoked Snowden’s passport, and he is now believed to be holed up in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
Snowden has submitted more than 20 requests for asylum. Most have been rejected, or countries have told the former National Security Agency contractor that he must be present on their soil to submit such an application.
Russia was one of the countries to which Snowden submitted an asylum application, but he withdrew his request after President Vladimir Putin said last week that Snowden would only be able to stay if he “stopped his work aimed at harming our US partners.”