MANAGUA, (Xinhua): Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said Friday his government would be willing to grant political asylum to Edward Snowden, the U.S. intelligence whistleblower, “if conditions permit.”
Ortega also confirmed that his government had received a formal asylum request from Snowden via its embassy in Moscow.
“We received a letter sent by Snowden asking for asylum here in Nicaragua. You know what Nicaragua’s position is on the matter. We are an open country, respectful of the right to asylum,” said Ortega.
“Of course, if conditions permit, we will receive Snowden with pleasure and give him asylum here,” Ortega added.
Ortega spoke of the letter prior to taking part in a mass march towards the province of Masaya, some 25 kilometers southeast of the capital Managua, as part of a reenactment of a historic guerrilla action against former dictator Anastasio Somoza in July 1979.
Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), blew the lid off the agency’s secret global surveillance program, angering Washington, which has charged him with espionage.
Snowden is now reportedly at a Moscow airport transit zone awaiting word on asylum.