A Venezuelan airforce general has publicly declared his support for the self-declared interim president of Venezuela Juan Guaido as thousands of opposition supporters rally in Caracas.
In a video circulating on Twitter today, General Francisco Yanez of the air force’s high command, said most of the armed forces already disavowed Maduro, who claims he is victim of a coup directed by the United States.
“People of Venezuela, 90 per cent of the armed forces of Venezuela are not with the dictator, they are with the people of Venezuela,” he said.
“Given the happenings of the last few hours, already the transition to democracy is imminent.”
The air force’s high command accused Yanez of treason on twitter in response.
The general’s intervention came as thousands of opposition supporters rallied to support Guaido who declared himself president on 23 January.
“We are going to send a very clear message in all the municipalities of Venezuela and in each city of the world, we are going to give a demonstration of strength, in a pacific and organized manner,” Guaido tweeted.
The left wing President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro is also holding a rally today to celebrate the 20th anniversary of late leader Hugo Chavez’s inauguration as president in 1999.
The US, Canada, Brazil and Australia have recognised Guaido as the president of Venezuela.
Maduro is supported by countries such as Iran, China and Russia.
A string of EU countries are expected to recognise Guaido next week as a deadline for the country to hold new elections expires.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt spoke to Guaido last week, describing him as a “brave and courageous man”.
Yesterday Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who in the past has been a staunch supporter of Venezuela’s left wing government, tweeted to oppose outside interference in the country.
The future of Venezuela is a matter for Venezuelans. @Jeremy_Hunt's call for more sanctions on Venezuela is wrong. We oppose outside interference in Venezuela, whether from the US or anywhere else.
There needs to be dialogue and a negotiated settlement to overcome the crisis.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 1, 2019