Friday, December 7, 2012

Assad reportedly seeking asylum in Latin America

Posted on Friday, 12.07.12

Assad reportedly seeking asylum in Latin America
By Juan O. Tamayo

Israel's Haaretz newspaper has reported that beleaguered Syrian
President Bashar al Assad is studying the possibility of seeking
political asylum in Cuba, Venezuela or Ecuador if he's forced to flee

Haaretz did not cite any sources for its report Wednesday that Syrian
Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad delivered secret letters with that
information when he visited Havana, Caracas and Quito late last month.

Miqdad later called the report "laughable" and added, "I assure you 100
percent that President Assad will never leave his country."

State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Wednesday said only that U.S.
officials "understand that some countries, both in the region and
elsewhere, have offered to host Assad and his family should he choose to
leave Syria."

Government-controlled news media in Havana and Caracas have reported
that Miqdad, delivered letters from Assad to the governments of Raúl
Castro and Hugo Chávez, who have strongly defended the Syrian president
in international fora.

A Venezuelan government spokesman told Haaretz that the letter referred
to the "personal relationship" between Assad and Chavez and that al
Miqdad's visit showed the close ties between the two nations, the
newspaper reported.

Chávez has sent Syria gasoline and other supplies and defended the Assad
government as a victim of U.S. and other foreign meddling. He has been
in Havana for the past week, receiving treatment related to his bout
with cancer.

Former Libyan leader Moammar Kaddafi also was reported to be considering
escaping to Cuba or Venezuela in the final days of his government.
Instead, he was captured and executed by rebel fighters.

Ecuador has granted political asylum to Julian Assange, the Wikileaks
founder wanted in Sweden on sex charges. Assange has lived in the
Ecuadorean embassy in London since June because British authorities have
vowed to arrest him if he steps out.

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