When Venezuela closed its consulate in Miami, it left the country's largest group of foreign-based voters without a convenient polling place. In order to vote in the upcoming October 7 election, those that live in Miami would have to travel to another consulate. Which isn't easy, considering the nearest one is all the way in New Orleans. However, now groups are preparing to both bus and fly Venezuelan voters in the area to the Big Bayou to make sure their votes count.
The groups say they are non-partisan, according to Business Week, but it's not exactly a secret that Florida's Venezuelan community is staunchly against incumbent president Hugo Chavez. Just two percent of Venezuelans living in Florida voted for Chavez back in 2006.
So, it's also probably not coincidental that the socialist leader has made it hard for them to vote. Chavez's government closed the consulate in Miami after the State Department ousted the top diplomat there on allegations she was involved in a cyber plot that targeted America's nuclear weapons. The government also refused to open a polling place in the 305.
Chavez is in the midst of his toughest reelection bid yet. Some polls even show opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski ahead, though others show Chavez with a lead. So every vote could count.
Chavez is also currently ailing from cancer. Some speculated he wouldn't even live until election day, but the president has been keeping an active campaign schedule and says he's headed toward full remission.
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- Venezuelan Citizens in Miami Must Travel to New Orleans to Vote
- Hugo Chavez Says He's Closing Venezuela's Consulate in Miami
- Venezuelan Diplomat Expelled from Miami For Role in Alleged Cyber Plot Against US Nukes