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Venezuela, Nicaragua offer Edward Snowden asylum. For real?

The leaders of Venezuela and Nicaragua have offered asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. But are the offers genuine, or just a way to tweak their powerful neighbor to the north?

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NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden during an interview by the Guardian in Hong Kong June 6. President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua have offered asylum to the former US intelligence contractor in defiance of Washington, which is demanding his arrest for divulging details of secret US spy programs.

Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras/Courtesy of The Guardian/REUTERS

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Things may be looking up for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden in his search for a place to live protected from prosecution by the US government.

The leaders of Venezuela and Nicaragua have offered asylum to the former NSA contractor who exposed top-secret US surveillance programs – first to The Washington Post and the British newspaper the Guardian, then via a 12-minute video in which he declared, “I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things.”

Still, a possible end to Mr. Snowden’s stateless situation – he remains without a visa or a valid passport in the transit section of the Moscow airport – is by no means settled.

Statements by President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua were vague – designed by those countries’ leftist leaders as much as anything to tweak their powerful neighbor to the north.

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