South Florida Venezuelans Head to New Orleans to Vote in Presidential Election Following Hugo Chavez Death

This will be the second Venezuelan presidential election in six months.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Danibett Zuniga
    South Florida Venezuelans head to New Orleans by bus to vote in the presidential election following Hugo Chavez's death.

    South Florida Venezuelans are headed to New Orleans Sunday to vote in the country's second presidential election in six months, following the death of leader Hugo Chavez in March.

    The exodus follows the Chavez-mandated closing of the Venezuelan consulate in Miami. According to The Miami Herald, 20,000 Venezuelan voters are registered in South Florida, 9,000 of which traveled to New Orleans for the last election in October.

    "I'm doing this for those still in Venezuela, like my father, and for my children: to give them a chance for change," Saul Rosa, 49, told the Sun Sentinel.

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    Experts say they expect Venezuela to have a vote. That vote will come in about 30 days, it was announced Tuesday night.

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    More than 3.300 voters are headed to New Orleans this time around, and by 10 a.m. Sunday, more than 2,000 people had already voted, Pedro Mena, head of the Mesa de Unidad Democrática in Miami, told The Miami Herald.

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    Hugo Chavez's casket was surrounded by loved ones Wednesday as it was walked from the military hospital where officials say the Venezuelan president died towards the military academy where he will lay in state for three days.

    This election sets Vice President Nicolas Maduro against former presidential contender Henrique Capriles. Chavez chose Maduro as his official successor before his death and was sworn in as acting president.

    While civic groups were able to raise large amounts of money to send voters to New Orleans in October, the Venezuelan government called this election quickly, leaving groups with less time to collect funds, according to the Sun Sentinel.

    "I can't pay at least $1,200 for flights, food and other expenses," voter Carlos Daniel Lugo told the newspaper.

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