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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro offered Friday to give "humanitarian asylum" to US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, who is waiting in a Moscow airport for a nation to give him sanctuary.
"As head of state of the Bolivarian republic of Venezuela, I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young Snowden ... to protect this young man from the persecution launched by the most powerful empire in the world," Maduro said at an independence day event.
Moments earlier in Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega said his government was willing to give asylum to the US fugitive, offering a glimmer of hope to Snowden, who has been in limbo at Moscow's international airport since June 23.
Snowden has applied for asylum in 27 countries as he tries to evade American justice for disclosing a vast US electronic surveillance program.
But his bids have been rebuffed by several European nations as well as Brazil and India.
The 30-year-old former National Security Agency contractor, however, has received more sympathetic words from leftist governments in Latin America.