HAVANA TIMES — Cuban President Raul Castro expressed his support for Venezuela and other Latin American countries in their “sovereign right” to offer asylum to Edward Snowden, revealer of a massive US National Security Agency spying program, reported DPA news.
However, in addressing the Cuban parliament on Sunday, Castro did not state whether Cuba had also accepted Snowden’s asylum request, directed to Havana last week according to a report released by the website Wikileaks.
“We support the sovereign right of Venezuela and all countries of the region to grant asylum to those persecuted for their ideals or struggles for democratic rights, according to our tradition,” said Castro, 82, in his closing speech of the two-day parliament session.
This was the first time that Castro himself had referred to the situation facing Snowden, wanted by Washington after revealing secrets of massive espionage programs in the USA and other countries.
While not confirming or denying Snowden’s asylum request to Cuba, Castro said: “We do not accept double standards, interference or pressure of any kind,” in his speech broadcast on state television.
The governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia in recent days offered asylum to Snowden, who is supposedly stranded since two weeks ago in the transit area of a Moscow airport.
Bolivian President Evo Morales, said his country’s offer came as a reaction to the incident he suffered earlier this week in Europe, where several countries closed their airspace to his plane returning home from a summit in Moscow, under the pretext that Snowden was possibly on board.
The incident caused outrage in Latin America. Several countries of the continent harshly criticized Spain, in addition to France, Portugal and Italy.