As President Trump railed against Venezuela during his annual speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, the Latin American country’s delegate was seen reading a book during his entire address.
“The dictator Maduro is a Cuban puppet, protected by Cuban bodyguards, hiding from his own people while Cuba plunders Venezuela’s oil wealth to sustain its own corrupt, communist rule,” Trump said at the gathering of world leaders. “Since I last spoke at this hall, the United States and its partners have built a historic coalition of 55 countries that recognize the legitimate government of Venezuela.”
He continued, saying that “to the Venezuelans trapped in this nightmare, please know that all of America is united behind you.”
Venezuelan Representative Daniela Rodríguez appeared to ignore Trump’s appeal, instead, reading a book about Venezuelan revolutionary Simón Bolívar, considered the father of the ruling United Socialist Party’s ideology.
In a tweet following the speech, Rodríguez tweeted a picture of the book, entitled “Bolívar heroe, genio y pensamiento universal [which roughly translates to: “Bolívar hero, genius and universal thought.”]
#24Sep Este es el libro que leía mientras @realDonaldTrump, profanaba a la Asamblea General de la #ONU con su discurso xenófobo e imperialista. Que viva Bolívar! Que viva Venezuela! Que viva el pueblo venezolano que no se doblega ante imperio alguno! #HandsOffVenezuela pic.twitter.com/A47SzTEgl8
— Daniela Rodríguez (@danialerodrimar) September 24, 2019
She wrote: “This is the book I read while @realDonaldTrump, desecrated the General Assembly of the #ONU with his xenophobic and imperialist speech. Long live Bolivar! Long live Venezuela! Long live the Venezuelan people who do not bow to any empire! #HandsOffVenezuela”
The U.S. has cut ties with the Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, sponsoring a self-declared bid for leadership by opposition-controlled National Assembly head Juan Guaidó. Since then, Washington has attempted to oust the government in Caracas via political and economic pressure as part of Trump’s self-styled “maximum pressure” strategy that the president vowed would continue during Tuesday’s speech.
Though much of Latin America and Europe, along with other close U.S. partners abroad, have sided with Guaidó, Maduro retained the recognition of fellow leftists in regional countries like Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico and Nicaragua, as well as Russia, China, Iran, South Africa and others. The U.N. continues to recognize Maduro too, despite pressure from Washington, though representatives of both factions in Venezuela were set to make their case in New York this week.
Trump also railed against socialism not only in Venezuela, but also at one of his potential 2020 challengers—Senator Bernie Sanders.
“One of the most serious challenges our countries face is the specter of socialism, it’s the wrecker of nations and destroyer of societies,” Trump said. “Events in Venezuela remind us all that socialism and communism are not about justice, they’re not about equality and they’re certainly not about the good of the nation. Socialism and communism are about one thing only, power for the ruling class.”
“Today I repeat a message for the world that I have delivered at home,” he added. “America will never be a socialist country.”