Bolivia joins Venezuela and Nicaragua in offering Snowden asylum
Bolivia is the latest in South American countries offering Edward Snowden political asylum, after Venezuela and Nicaragua earlier this week.
Mr Snowden, currently in Moscow, sent requests for political asylum to 21 countries, most of which have refused. WikiLeaks earlier confirmed the whistleblower had applied to six additional countries, but wouldn’t reveal their identities “due to attempted US interference”.
Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro said he would grant asylum to the intelligence leaker, and Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega, speaking at a political rally, said he would allow Snowden asylum “if circumstances permit”.
Meanwhile, Bolivian president Evo Morales has been the latest world leader to step in, confirming Snowden could be granted asylum there if he sought it.
Mr Morales was full of praise for the whistleblower, claiming his actions were “a fair way of protesting”.
Despite the promising news, leaving Moscow may still prove a challenge for the whistleblower, subject to the power and influence of the United States.
Snowden’s passport has also been revoked. Though three nations have offered the whistleblower asylum, they haven’t indicated whether or not they would provide the necessary travel documents for Snowden to leave Russia.
Furthermore, several European nations may refuse any aircraft suspected of carrying Snowden permission to cross their airspace, as demonstrated earlier this week.
Bolivia’s decision to offer Snowden asylum has not come as a surprise given that France, Spain, Italy and Portugal reportedly barred the Bolivian president’s jet from crossing into their territory. It was suspected Snowden was aboard the flight.
Mr Morales’ jet was detained in Austria; the president, furious, blamed Washington for putting European nations under pressure to refuse him passage through the continent.
“We are not scared [of reprisals],” he added, regarding the offer of asylum for the whistleblower.