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.