By JAVIER MANJARRES
New Orleans, Louisiana will be ‘ground zero’ for Venezuelans looking to vote in the Venezuelan Presidential special election between ‘Chavista’ and interim president Nicolas Madura and Henrique Capriles.
In October 2012, the late Venezuelan strongman, Hugo Chavez defeated Capriles in Venezuela’s presidential election, but not before closing the Venezuela’s Miami consulate after the U.S. expelled his chief diplomat, after they alleged that she was involved in spying.
Because the Venezuelan consulate has been closed since before the election, Venezuelans eligible to vote had to travel to New Orleans to cast their vote. The consulate remains closed, and the estimated 8,500 people who traveled to New Orleans last October, maybe joined by even more registered Venezuelan voters who are willing to make the trip to the Bayou.
According to the El Nuevo Herald, more than “19,500 Venezuelan voters registered in South Florida can get ready to travel to New Orleans to vote in next month’s presidential election.” But South Floridians are not alone, as Venezuelan citizens in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, must also make their way to New Orleans, if they intend to vote in the election.
This week’s announcement was intended to erase any doubts that Venezuelan authorities would be able to prepare in time for expatriate Venezuelans in the U.S. to cast their ballots.
“There is an excellent relationship between the Simón Bolívar Command [on Capriles’ side] and the Consulate [in New Orleans],” said José Hernández, general coordinator of Capriles’ campaign in Miami. “The boxes containing the voting ballots have already arrived, so there is no reason to think the process will not be completed.”-El Nuevo Herald
A big voter turnout in New Orleans will favor Capriles, as 97% of the people that voted in the October 2012 presidential election, voted against Hugo Chavez.