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Politics

800 Venezuelan Expats Casting Votes in Every Hour in New Orleans

October 11, 2012 by Jesse Schmitt in Politics with 0 Comments

About 800 Venezuelan expatriate voters every hour midway through Weekend were casting votes for nation’s presidential election at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center,New Orleans.

The ballot polls opened at early morning around 6’o clock and administrators predicted that about 8000 people of  Venezuela expats living in Southern US would arrive at the polls for casting votes. After a wait for two-and-hours or so, one of the local campaign directors, Anselmo Rodriguez said for nominee Henrique Capriles Radonski, the opponent to incumbent president Hugo Chavez that it is a Venezuelan Mardi Gras for democracy and freedom, referring to the situation built outside the center that was emphasized by waving national flags, singing in a constant tune of ‘Venezuela!Venezuela!’

Most of them traveled to the city by car, bus, or airplane from different locations, including South California, North California,Georgia, and Florida.  They had registered to cast ballots at Miami’s Venezuelan consulate.

However, Venezuela closed the facility down in early 2012 after officials at State Department rejected the representative who was suspected in an Iranian internet attack scheme against the United States executives in Venezuela, sending expats programmed to cast ballots in Miami to the closets polling operation on the Election Day. And happened to be New Orleans, which is 860 miles above from Miami.

Before its shut down, the Miami consulate was organized to supply twenty thousand voters in the area where the largest awareness outside of the home nation is. In the mean-time, New Orleans consul officials were looking forward to manage smaller crowd as possible, about 640 residing in Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. However, not every expat who arrived on Sunday’s voting had to travel considering Miami representative’s jurisdiction.

The 38-years old, Valentina Franquiz made the short journey from Baton Rouge, weaved the Venezuela’s flag, featuring handmade sign with letters in red, blue, and yellow. She said she’s proud of other Venezuelan who traveled a long way, sacrificing both dollars and time to cast votes. She said this situation had never happened before, but making a history on Sunday in a great effort.

Many of the voters left Venezuela due to political issues and it is also predicted that many of those expats Venezuela supported Henrique Capriles Radonski, the former Miranda governor.  The supporters of Henrique Radonski claim that Hugo Chavez failed to resolve many problems, be it poorly equipped hospitals, periodic electricity blackouts, or shocking murder rate.

About Jesse Schmitt

Jesse Schmitt has been a journalist for almost 10 years.  She started her career at United Press International in Providence, Rhode Island and has worked as a journalist in Washington, DC, Southern California, London and New York. Since 2005, she has written the biweekly ShortCuts column for The New York Times business section. Her personal finance columns received a Best in Business award in 2011 from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

View all posts by Jesse Schmitt →

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