Top Venezuela Air Force General Francisco Yanez declared he no longer recognizes the authority of Nicolas Maduro in a video circulating Saturday via Twitter, on social media.
The video disavowing Maduro’s rule hit the internet just as Venezuelans were hitting the street once more to express their support of Juan Guaido, the country’s parliamentary president and opposition leader who declared himself interim President last month.
Yanez, reportedly the head of strategic planning in Venezuela’s air force and the first high-ranking general to publicly express support of Guaido, urged others in the military also to defect, according to Reuters.
U.S. President Donald Trump was the first to announce recognition for Guaido’s new government, and America’s clout has been helpful in persuading others around the world to do the same.
But ultimately, the country’s military will have to withdraw its support of Maduro and back Guaido – as will Russia and China – in order for the transition to succeed.
“What most suits Russia and China is the country’s stability and a change of government,” Guaido told Reuters. “Maduro does not protect Venezuela, he doesn’t protect anyone’s investments, and he is not a good deal for those countries.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement of support last Sunday morning in response to heavy pressure from the United States, recognizing the new leadership in Caracas.