WASHINGTON: 

A top White House official called Saturday on Venezuela’s military to follow the lead of a general who sided with opposition leader Juan Guaido against President Nicolas Maduro.

“The US calls on all military members to follow General Yanez’s lead, and to protect the peaceful protestors supporting democracy,” National Security Advisor John Bolton said in a tweet.

He was referring to Major General Francisco Yanez who posted a video of himself rejecting Maduro’s “dictatorial” authority and recognizing Guaido, the National Assembly head, as the acting president.

Yanez, who is strategic planning director of the Venezuelan air force’s high command, is the highest-ranking active duty officer to turn against Maduro since Guaido declared himself acting president January 23, promising to organize presidential elections.