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Report: Nicaraguan President Willing To Grant Snowden Asylum

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In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (credit: The Guardian via Getty Images)

In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (credit: The Guardian via Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — National security agency leaker Edward Snowden might be able to find a home in Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said Friday he is willing to grant Snowden asylum if conditions are conducive, according to AFP.

“We are open, respectful of the right to asylum, and it is clear that if circumstances permit it, we would receive Snowden with pleasure and give him asylum here in Nicaragua,” Ortega said, according to AFP.

Reuters reports that Venezuela has also offered Snowden political asylum.

“I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American, Edward Snowden, so that in the fatherland of (Simon) Bolivar and (Hugo) Chavez, he can come and live away from the imperial North American persecution,” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said, according to Reuters.

Snowden has been holed up in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for nearly two weeks after leaving Hong Kong.

Snowden originally intended to travel from Moscow with the intention of going to the Ecuadorean capital of Quito. However, after he was held up in the Moscow airport, Ecuador asked Russia to let him take a commercial flight to meet Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino in Vietnam or Singapore, where Patino was on a pre-planned official trip, in order to be taken back to Quito by Patino, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak to the press.

The Russians rejected Ecuador’s requests to let Snowden leave Moscow, or to let an Ecuadorean government plane pick him up there, the official said.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa told reporters last Thursday that Snowden was “in the hands of the authorities” in Russia.

But Russian authorities have said Snowden is outside Russian control in a transit area of the Moscow airport, which is technically not Russian territory.

Russia said Thursday that Snowden needs to find another country to seek refuge in.

“He needs to choose a place to go,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Reuters. “As of this moment, we do not have a formal application from Mr. Snowden asking for asylum in the Russian Federation.”

Snowden is charged with violating U.S. espionage laws for leaking information about NSA surveillance of Internet and telephone records to detect terrorist plots.

The State Department has revoked Snowden’s visa.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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