The vice president of Venezuela’s socialist regime, Delcy Rodríguez, took the stage at the United Nations on Friday to denounce the country’s legitimate president, Juan Guaidó, as an “imperial puppet” who does not “exist in Venezuelan politics.”
Rodríguez, who was speaking in place of dictator Nicolás Maduro after he decided not to attend the assembly, denounced efforts by the United States and the international community to instigate a transition to democracy by recognizing Guaidó as a form of “coup d’état” and an “an unspeakable twisted stumbling block on our historic path.”
Guaidó is the legitimate head of state of the country because Maduro’s last term as president expired, and he is claiming power through an election widely considered fraudulent. The national legislature used its constitutional powers to appoint Guaidó interim president in January in response to Maduro refusing to hand the presidency over.
The move was recognized by both the U.S. and the majority of Western nations, who accepted that the Maduro regime had rigged the 2018 presidential election and had no legitimate claim to power.
“This Member of Congress is an imperial puppet. He does not exist in Venezuelan politics,” she said. “He is a criminal element who has been introduced to breach the peace in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”
“This self-proclamation was followed by recognition by a majority of governments of this unequal world; perhaps one of the worst mistakes in the diplomatic history of these countries,” she argued.
The 50-year-old leftist, subject to multiple sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, also attacked “a new kind of terrorism,” which allegedly does not use force but, instead, “the dominance of the dollar” and thus “enforce[s] doctrines of regime change … to steal the resources of nations.”
“Economic terrorism against Venezuela has caused a nine-fold drop in its income,” she declared. “Between 2015 and 2018, the total losses for the Venezuelan economy reached $130 billion because of the brutal blockade imposed by the United States, which is a shameless robbery of all our resources.”
Rodríguez’s tacit admission of the power of the U.S. dollar is surprising given of her past criticisms of the currency. Last year, she warned that the dollar “does not exist” and had become a ticking time bomb as it was built on financial speculation rather than real wealth.
“Venezuela has already entered the new international financial order, the dollar does not exist, it has no real financial basis, it is speculative, and it represents the financial crisis of world capitalism,” she said at the time.
Rodríguez’s comments are all the more extraordinary given Venezuela’s current economic predicament in which hyperinflation and economic decline have rendered its bolívar currency practically worthless and led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that has led to at least four million people fleeing the country in recent years.