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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 12:19pm
Edward Snowden

Venezuelan asylum 'best solution' for Edward Snowden, says Russian lawmaker

Russian lawmaker's comments reflect Kremlin's increasing desire to be rid of whistle-blower

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 July, 2013, 5:19am

A senior member of the Russian Parliament said political asylum in Venezuela would be "the best solution" for Edward Snowden (pictured), the former intelligence contractor on the run from US authorities.

The comments by Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the international affairs committee of the state Duma, Parliament's lower house, came as Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia extended the first firm offers of asylum to Snowden, who has been holed up at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport for two weeks, and seemed to reflect the Kremlin's increasing desire to be rid of him.

"Sanctuary for Snowden in Venezuela would be the best solution," Pushkov posted on Twitter. "The country has a sharp conflict with the United States. It will not be worse. And he can't live in Sheremetyevo."

The US and Venezuela recently began talks toward reconciliation, progress an Obama administration official said would end if Venezuela sheltered Snowden, as President Nicolas Maduro said he would, or facilitated his journey. The official cautioned other Latin American nations, hinting that relations would worsen if they helped Snowden.

Pushkov's comments typically echo the Kremlin's line and they underscored a crucial point: Russia still has no intention of turning Snowden over to the US or impeding his travel to any country willing to shelter him.

In fact, far more powerful Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have suggested that there is no set limit on the time Snowden can remain in the airport's transit zone, where technically, they say, he has not crossed onto Russia territory. But Putin has also said that the sooner Snowden picks a destination and leaves, the better.

Still, even as the asylum offers from Venezuela and Nicaragua suggested that Snowden's sojourn in Russia might be nearing its end, getting to his final destination will not be easy.

The easiest route to Latin America from Moscow would take Snowden first to Havana, where he could then connect to direct flights either to Caracas, Venezuela, or Managua, Nicaragua. But if he buys a ticket for a regularly scheduled flight on Aeroflot, the Russian carrier, which Putin has said Snowden is free to do, would the US go so far as to force down a commercial jetliner once it crosses into US airspace, which is part of its normal flight path? And even if the Americans are loath to force down a passenger jet, would Cuba allow Snowden to pass through Havana?

Cuba has not said how it might react if Snowden arrives for a connecting flight. It could follow Russia's lead and treat him as a transit passenger who has technically not crossed onto Cuban territory. But US officials have made clear they view that as a mere technicality and have urged any government with access to send him back to the US.


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hard times !
Cuba (an once-anti-America bastion) is
the key where it connects Moscow
and Caracas,Venezuela.
But if the Aeroflot which
carries our whistle-blower
is forced down for
crossing the airspace
of Uncle Sam
then Snowden
is doomed
a chartered flight to
Venezuela costs much
a donation by all the
netizens in our world
is needed to help
our leaker to afford
such a flight
or a flight past
the Pacific to Nicaragua
then onwards to
Venezuela---flying over
the open seas
no fighters will intercept
it was promised
but the drones ?
hard times !
it is learnt that though on the surface,the US State Dept.did not comment on the case of Venezuela promised to grant Snowden an asylum.Yet behind the scene,the Obama administration had told the Venezuela government once Snowden lands on that country or just transit it, he should be extradited to the States for a trial.So going to S.America or Nicaragua may not be a good option----------not safe enough for these small nations (like their European counterparts are fear of Uncle Sam's power---unlike our tiny Hong Kong which dares to keep him and even let him leave safely and secretly) Threatening to waive our visa-free access is a two-thronged sword,who may lose more is unknown and Hong Kong can retaliate by cancelling Americans' visa-free access here once we are ill-treated by that Big Brother who is bossy and arrogant enough in this Global Village which should be fair and just to every villager !


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