Venezuelan general says ‘it’s time to rise up’ in new video


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By Reuters

CARACAS, Venezuela — A Venezuelan general called on the country’s armed forces on Sunday to rise up against President Nicolás Maduro, who has relied on the backing of the military to hold on to power despite an economic collapse.

Ramon Rangel, who identified himself as an air force general, said the Venezuelan government is being controlled by the “communist dictatorship” in Cuba — a key Maduro ally.

“We have to find a way to get rid of the fear, to go out into the streets, to protest, and to seek a military union to change this political system,” Rangel said in a video posted on YouTube. “It’s time to rise up.”

While Rangel’s pronouncement marks another blow to Maduro after a handful of similar defections by senior officers this year, there is little to indicate that he will tip the scales.

Officers who have disavowed Maduro have fled the country and the military top brass — most notably those who command troops — continues to recognize Maduro.

A supporter of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido during a rally in Caracas on Saturday.Marvin Recinos / AFP – Getty Images

The information ministry did not respond immediately to a request for comment. Reuters was also unable to obtain comment from Rangel.

Air Force Commander Pedro Juliac posted a picture of Rangel on Twitter on Sunday with the words “traitor to the Venezuelan people and the revolution” printed across the image.

Unlike other officers who have made similar pronouncements, Rangel did not voice support for Juan Guaidó — the opposition leader who invoked the constitution in January to assume the interim presidency, arguing that Maduro’s 2018 re-election was a fraud.

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