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Venezuela And Nicaragua Willing To Give Asylum To Snowden

The presidents of Venezuela and Nicaragua have said they would be willing to give asylum to Edward Snowden, The Associated Press and other media report.

Snowden, who has leaked secret information about National Security Agency programs, is believed to be holed up in a Moscow airport.

Snowden has petitioned for asylum in several countries, and Friday the website WikiLeaks tweeted that he had applied to six more. It would not name which ones "due to attempted US interference."

According to Reuters, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he had "decided to offer humanitarian asylum" to Snowden "so that in the fatherland of (Simon) Bolivar and (Hugo) Chavez, he can come and live away from the imperial North American persecution."

President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua says he would give Snowden asylum "if circumstances permit it," the BBC reports.

The announcements follow an incident Tuesday in which Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane was forced to land in Austria, apparently on suspicion Snowden was onboard. Morales returned to support from fellow Latin American leaders, who denounced the disruption.

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro told host Renee Montagne on Morning Edition the countries have "called it a violation of national sovereignty, an act of imperialism."

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