Source: Wall Street Journal
January 28 2019
The top military representative of Venezuela in Washington has defected as President Nicolas Maduro continues to assert his control over the military, reports the Wall Street Journal.
On Saturday, Col. Jose Luis Silva called on other military officers to recognize Jose Guaido as the country's interim leader.
Appearing in full military uniform, Col. Silva called on troops not to obey orders to attack protesters.
Following the comments, the Venezuelan Defense Ministry called Col. Silva a traitor controlled by international powers.
Silva told Reuters that a consular official in Houston and one in another U.S. city also recognized Guaido. The news service could not confirm the claim.
The move is symbolic but unlikely to substantially affect forces on the ground. Col. Silva resides outside the country and does not command troops, one analyst told the newspaper.
Maduro has worked to project an image of strength after Guaido declared himself interim president in front of thousands of supporters on Jan. 23.
On Sunday, Maduro attended a ceremony at Fort Paramacay in the central city of Valencia in which he denounced coup plotters.
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