Venezuelan general calls for military uprising against Maduro

Caracas (AFP) –


A Venezuelan air force general has called on his country's armed forces to rise up against President Nicolas Maduro, who remains in power with military support despite a sweeping economic crisis.

"It's time to rise up, it's time to fight ... it's time that the armed forces became aware," General Ramon Rangel said in a video appeal issued Sunday on social media.

Rangel -- who appeared in civilian clothes and whose location is unknown -- is the latest of several military figures to call on Venezuela's military to abandon Maduro.

Another Air Force general, Francisco Yanez, pledged his allegiance to opposition leader Juan Guaido on February 2.

Rangel did not however specifically call on the military to switch their allegiance to Guaido, who is recognized as interim president by much of the international community.

The 35-year-old National Assembly speaker, who organized a failed uprising on April 30, has repeatedly called on the armed forces to abandon Maduro.

A source close to Venezuela's military told AFP that Rangel has not been on active duty "for years," and at one point was manager of a Venezuelan state company in Cuba.

The commander of the Air Force, General Pedro Juliac, denounced Rangel as a traitor on Twitter.

Juliac's tweet carried a photo of Rangel with a cross over it, and the phrase: "Traitor of the people and of the Revolution."

"Those without morals will never be able to damage the country, let alone the Bolivarian military aviation. We will win - Long Live the Revolution."