Venezuelan air force general becomes first high-ranking official to defect

A Russian-made jet performs a flyover during Venezuela's 206th anniversary of its Independence.

A Venezuelan air force general on Saturday became the country’s first senior military official to defect from President Nicolás Maduro’s government, announcing support for mass protests to oust the socialist dictator.

In a YouTube video posted Saturday, Gen. Francisco Yanez claimed that “90 percent” of the armed forces are against Maduro.

Maduro began a second six-year term last month after a widely criticized election that barred political opponents from the ballot. Since then, the country’s economic and humanitarian crisis has only worsened.

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