Nikki Haley greeted Venezuelan protesters outside the United Nations demonstrating against the country’s authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro, telling them that the Trump administration has their backs.
In a somewhat unlikely scene, Ambassador Haley walked from her car to a special area designated for protesters set up by the NYPD during United Nations High Level week. Haley encouraged the hundreds of protesters, who seemed to be caught by surprise by her visit that the U.S. was listening.
“We need your voices to be loud, and I will tell you going to tell you the United States voice is going to be very loud,” Haley declared.
She told the cheering protesters about her recent trip to the Colombia-Venezuela border and said that while Maduro is flying around in private jets and eating at nice restaurants ordinary Venezuelans were lucky to get one meal a day as they tried to escape from the country to Colombia.
Speaking through a megaphone, Haley told the protesters: "I can tell you that I talked with President Trump and he is fired up about this. He is angry at Maduro. His comments were we are not just going to let the Maduro regime backed by Cuba hurt the Venezuelan people any more."
She continued: "So I will tell you I’m going to be loud, President Trump is going to be loud the United States is going to be loud and Maduro will hear us because we won't stop talking until we see Maduro go keep your voices loud."
One of the protesters, Roma Flores, told Fox News that she is in contact with friends in Venezuela and what she hears from them makes her cry. She said Haley’s appearance was very helpful to the people back in Venezuela.
"It was very important because it gives us the strength to keep going," she said.
Isaias Medina, a former Venezuelan diplomat at the U.N. mission who resigned in protest against the Maduro government – the first Venezuelan diplomat to do so, said this was an important message to his countrymen and women.
"Ambassador Haley’s steady support to desperate, helpless crying pleads of the Venezuelan people, gives us strong hope for the restoration of democracy, peace and freedom in a country hijacked by a criminal organization with drub trafficking and terrorist ties," Medina said. "Soon with the help from our friends, we shall break the chains of Maduro’s tyranny."
This month, Haley held meetings with Venezuelan opposition activists. In 2017 Haley tried to force a Security Council meeting on Venezuela but due to a procedural move by the Russians and its allies on the council, the U.S. was forced to make it into an unofficial meeting on the humanitarian situation in the country.
On Tuesday the U.S. slapped more sanctions on Venezuela as it looks to tighten the noose around the government. Those sanctions included the wife of President, Cillia Adela Flores de Maduro, as well as three other current or former officials of his inner circle.
Maduro spoke at the UN General Assembly for over forty minutes Wednesday night, where he likened himself to Nelson Mandela and condemned the U.S. for his country’s many ills. Maduro also criticized media coverage of his country. Following his speech he cancelled an already planned press conference without explanation.