Venezuela’s top military representative to the US ABANDONS Maduro saying his rival Guaido is ‘ the only legitimate president’ – only to be slammed as a ‘traitor’ in his homeland

Sunday, January 27, 2019
By Paul Martin

Colonel Jose Luis Silva says that Juan Guaido is ‘the only legitimate president’
Significantly, he is Venezuela’s top military representative in the United States
Nicolas Maduro’s government is thought to still enjoy the support of the army
Col Silva has been slammed by a traitor in his homeland following his defection

By DANYAL HUSSAIN
DAILYMAIL.COM
27 January 2019

Venezuela’s top military representative to the US has been slammed as a traitor in his homeland after he declared that he now recognises opposition leader Juan Guaido as the president, abandoning Nicolas Maduro’s government.

Colonel Jose Luis Silva’s defection is significant as Maduro, who has accused Guaido of a coup, retains the support of the country’s security forces.

The latest development comes as European powers signaled they were ready to follow the United States in recognizing National Assembly President Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful leader.

Guaidó declared himself ‘acting president’ on Wednesday, gaining the backing of several countries with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launching a fiery speech at the United Nations on Saturday, slamming Venezuela’s dictatorial regime under Maduro as an ‘illegitimate mafia state’.

Col Silva’s intervention is a blow to Maduro, with the armed forces seen as crucial in the current struggle.

Venezuela’s defence ministry said Col Silva was guilty of treason, and tweeted photos of him with the word ‘traitor’ plastered over them.

Guaido recently asked the army to ‘put themselves on the side of the Venezuelan people’.

In a video filmed at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, Col Silva said: ‘The armed forces have a fundamental role in the restoration of the democracy in our country. Please, brothers, do not attack our people.’

He also urged his ‘brothers in the armed forces of the nation to recognise President Juan Guaido as the only legitimate president’.

Guaido celebrated Silva’s decision to defect.

‘We welcome him and everyone who with honesty want to follow the constitution and the will of the Venezuelan people,’ he said on social media after attending a small assembly in Caracas to discuss the opposition’s next moves.

Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for US National Security Council, encouraged others to follow Silva’s lead ‘to protect constitutional order, not to sustain dictators and repress its own people.’

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