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2 Jul, 2013 18:19

Venezuela ready to help Snowden, but final decision with people - Maduro to RT

Venezuela ready to help Snowden, but final decision with people - Maduro to RT

Caracas is ready to help NSA leaker Edward Snowden, but will “leave the decision to the people” when considering his request for asylum, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has told RT Spanish in an exclusive interview.

"I think we should do something for him and I will leave this decision to the people. We either help him or we close the door and forget about him. We really believe in world peace and world balance. We are not afraid of any kind of empires. I don’t know how many people can hear me in this studio, but there is no empire that can intimidate us," Maduro told Spanish language RT Actualidad

"This young man has to be protected by the international community. He did with dignity to tell the world that there are mechanisms that are intended to control information and spy on the world," Maduro added.

"If Snowden stays alone, he will be destroyed. But what kind of crimes did he commit? What kind of bombs did he explode or what kind of missiles did he launch? He tries to fight against controlling weak countries. This is why we say that we share what this young man says and that protecting Snowden will protect peace," Maduro said.

Earlier NSA leaker Edward Snowden was reported to have sought asylum in 21 countries, aiming to gain protection against US prosecutors.

When questioned whether Caracas has received an application from Snowden, Maduro said that he has "no official communication that says Snowden applied for asylum in Venezuela."

He added that Venezuela "must await the reaction of the world" when asked whether he would grant asylum to the whistleblower.  

The US has voided Snowden’s passport, making it impossible to leave the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

"We should not think about how Snowden would escape Moscow airport but to analyze what information this young person provided. That is much more important than to think about how he will escape his current place of stay. If in the next days this person leaves the airport by plane or by boat or however, this is not so important," the Venezuelan leader remarked.

A television screens the image of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden during a news bulletin at a cafe at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport June 26, 2013.(Reuters / Sergei Karpukhin)

Snowden has captivated the world’s press after leaking data on the NSA’s mass surveillance program in May.

"He has raised a red flag in time, revealing that the US elite have mechanisms which they intend to use in order to spy on the world," said Maduro. 

He added that some of the things which Snowden revealed seemed like "science fiction" at first.

“Now we have to think what other things there might be that could affect the peace of the people...We have to really think what other secrets - from John Kerry or Joe Biden - this young man keeps. Secrets of an empire that is morally and ethically in a decline."

Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23, traveling on special documents given to him by the Ecuadorian government as his US passport was voided.

However, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said on Monday that any help granted to Snowden had been purely accidental and that no more aid would be given to him. He stressed that the Ecuadorian consul in London acted outside their authority when they issued the travel documents to Snowden.