Venezuela slams US defence attache’s decision to defect as ‘treason’

Caracas: Venezuela on Sunday slammed its defence attache to Washington’s decision to recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as President, labelling his move as “treason”.

“To surrender to international interests is an act of treason and cowardice towards the homeland inherited from our liberator Simon Bolivar, so we reject the statements of Colonel Jose Luis Silva, who had served as military attache to the United States,” Sputnik quoted the Venezuelan Defence Ministry as stating.

“As the Venezuelan defence attache in the United States, I do not recognize Mr Nicolas Maduro as president of Venezuela…,” Silva had announced at the Venezuelan embassy in the United States. He also urged other Venezuelan defence personnel to support Guaido as the President.

The South American nation’s dismissal of Silva’s move comes amidst political turmoil in the nation.

On January 23, Guaido, the opposition leader and National Assembly President, proclaimed himself as President of Venezuela to crowds of cheering protesters. He was immediately recognised as interim President by the USA.

The elected President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, labelled it as a coup attempt by the US authorities and severed all ties with the country. Following this, the USA appealed to nations to “pick a side” over the crisis in Venezuela at a UN Security Council meeting on Saturday.

Despite major protests and an ultimatum by most nations to hold fresh elections, Maduro continues to hold on to his post. Countries like Russia and China have backed Maduro while condemning international interference in the nation.