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Venezuela air force general defects from Maduro government

By The News · 02 of February 2019 13:44:30
FILE In this Nov. 21, 2016 file photo, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, left, speaks with Congressman Hector Rodriguez during a meeting with students, in Caracas, Venezuela. Now governor of Miranda state, Rodriguez has reached out to business owners who normally side with the opposition. Some call it “Light Chavismo,” although Rodriguez’s more moderate discourse belies an unflinching loyalty to Maduro. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File), No available, FILE In this Nov. 21, 2016 file photo, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, left, speaks with Congressman Hector Rodriguez during a meeting with students, in Caracas, Venezuela. Now governor of Miranda state, Rodriguez has reached out to business owners who normally side with the opposition. Some call it “Light Chavismo,” although Rodriguez’s more moderate discourse belies an unflinching loyalty to Maduro. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A Venezuelan air force general has defected from the administration of President Nicolas Maduro and called on his compatriots to participate in Saturday protests against the socialist leader’s rule.

Francisco Yanez is the first high ranking officer to leave Maduro’s government since Jan. 23, when National Assembly President Juan Guaido declared himself the country’s legitimate leader.

In a YouTube video, Gen. Francisco Yanez said: “The transition to democracy is imminent.” He described Maduro as a dictator and referred to Guaido as his president. Yanez is refusing to say whether he is still in Venezuela or has left the country.

The Associated Press reached him on a Colombian cell phone number.

In the video, Yanez claimed that “90 percent” of the country’s armed forces are against Maduro.