A Venezuelan delegate defiantly buried her nose in a book as President Donald Trump derided the South American country’s president as a “Cuban puppet” and a “dictator” in a speech before world leaders on Tuesday.
Representative Daniela Rodríguez, seated within the United Nations General Assembly, was seen coldly thumbing through the pages of a book about the late Venezuelan military and political leader Simón Bolívar, who helped Latin American countries achieve independence in the early 1800s.
“This is the book I was reading while @realDonaldTrump desecrated the General Assembly of the #ONU with his xenophobic and imperialist discourse,” she tweeted in Spanish, along with a photo of her hardcover book.
“Long live Bolívar! Long live Venezuela! Long live the Venezuelan people who do not bend to any empire!” she added, including the hashtag #HandsOffVenezuela.
Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolás Maduro, did not attend Tuesday’s U.N. General Assembly, as he had traveled to Russia to meet with ally President Vladimir Putin instead.
In Trump’s speech, he criticized not just Maduro and his alliance with Cuba but also communism and socialism, which he vowed the United States will never be.
“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. “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. To the Venezuelans trapped in this nightmare, please know that all of America is united behind you.”
Last month, Trump imposed fresh sanctions on Venezuela that target all of its government assets in the United States in a bid to remove Maduro. The U.S. and other western nations have deemed his regime responsible for repeat abuse of human rights, as well as theft and drug crimes.
The U.S. has said it will not recognize the embattled political leader and will instead recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate president.