Venezuela asylum offer Snowden's best option: Russian lawmaker

MOSCOW Sat Jul 6, 2013 6:26am EDT

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro plays a Venezuelan cuatro as he arrives for a national assembly in Caracas to attend an Independence day ceremony in this July 5, 2013 handout from the Miraflores Palace. REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro plays a Venezuelan cuatro as he arrives for a national assembly in Caracas to attend an Independence day ceremony in this July 5, 2013 handout from the Miraflores Palace.

Credit: Reuters/Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Political asylum in Venezuela would be the best choice for former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Saturday.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday offered asylum to Snowden, who is believed to be holed up in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

"Asylum for Snowden in Venezuela would be the best solution. That country is in a sharp conflict with the United States," pro-Kremlin lawmaker Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the international affairs committee of Russia's lower house of parliament, said on Twitter.

Pushkov is unlikely to be involved in any decision on Snowden's fate. President Vladimir Putin's spokesman declined to comment on Venezuela's offer, saying it was not the Kremlin's affair.

Russia is keen to see the back of Snowden, who landed in Moscow on June 23 after publishing revelations about electronic surveillance at the National Security Agency. His unexpected arrival has complicated already difficult relations between the two former Cold War superpowers.

Pushkov said: "Snowden's case proves that U.S. attempts to bring the world under electronic, military and political control are doomed."

The 30-year-old whistleblower withdrew a request for asylum in Russia and had his appeals to be granted refuge turned down by more than a dozen other countries.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Douglas Busvine)

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Comments (2)
It’s interesting that neither China nor Russia want him. He clearly tried to buy refuge there with his stolen information, so why didn’t they give him asylum? It’s definitely not because they’re worried about angering the USA.

My guess is that Snowden had no information they didn’t already know, making him useless from an intelligence POV.

Venezuela, North Korea and Iran might take him in for use in domestic propaganda, and when those are the only choices I guess Venezuela is the least-worst.

Jul 06, 2013 7:03am EDT  --  Report as abuse
pbgd wrote:
But the US keeps buying heavy oil from Venezuela to avoid Canada’s Keystone XL. I guess business is business for Obama.

Jul 06, 2013 7:16am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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