Venezuelan air force general declares allegiance to Guaido
Updated 22:50, 02-Feb-2019

General Francisco Yanez, high command of Venezuela's air force, said he now recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim head-of-state, according to media reports Saturday.

In a video circulating on Twitter on Saturday, Yanez said most of the armed forces have already disavowed Maduro, who claims he is victim of a coup directed by the U.S.

"People of Venezuela, 90 percent of the armed forces of Venezuela are not with the dictator, they are with the people of Venezuela," Yanez said in the video.

"Given the happenings of the last few hours, already the transition to democracy is imminent," he claimed in the video.

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Yanez called on other members of the military to defect. The high command's web page lists him, along with a photo, as the air force's head of strategic planning.  

On its Twitter account, the high command accused the general of treason. 

The video came as opposition supporters were set to protest nationwide in a bid to keep up the pressure on Maduro after Washington recognized Guaido as the legitimate president and issued potentially crippling sanctions that are likely to further weaken the OPEC nation's struggling oil industry.

Yanez is the first active Venezuelan general to recognize Guaido since he proclaimed himself president in January.

(With input from AFP, Reuters)