Student Uses Social Media to Get Venezuelan Voters to the Polls

Emily Bello-Pardo is the U.S. student leader of Voto Joven, a nonpartisan worldwide organization devoted to getting Venezuelan voters to the polls.

By Maria Camila Bernal
|  Friday, Apr 12, 2013  |  Updated 7:15 PM EDT
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Courtesy of Emily Bello-Pardo

Emily Bello-Pardo is the U.S. student leader of Voto Joven, a nonpartisan worldwide organization devoted to getting Venezuelan voters to the polls.

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Emily Bello-Pardo is using her social media skills to attract voters to Sunday's Venezuelan elections.

The 22-year-old is weeks away from graduating college and is concentrated in finishing her thesis. But her heart, energy and social media skills are dedicated to the upcoming Venezuelan elections.

Bello-Pardo is the U.S. student leader of Voto Joven, a nonpartisan worldwide organization devoted to getting Venezuelan voters to the polls.

“I wanted to do something to foster a better future for the people in homeland,” said Bello-Pardo from Doral. “We serve as an inspiration for the people in the United States and for the people in Venezuela.”

Since the death of Hugo Chavez, Bello-Pardo knew she would only have 39 days to encourage people to vote.

“It’s been complicated but it’s something I really like to do,” said Bello-Pardo, who quickly reactivated her social media outreach. “We had to think about how to get people engaged again after a hard loss in October.”

The logistics for this year’s election were also complicated. She had less time to fundraise for transportation to Louisiana, the only state where Venezuelan citizens in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina can vote.

To get the attention of Venezuelans, she needed to act fast.

Bello-Pardo organized a Harlem Shake video and encouraged the youth to follow, post and comment on all the social media sites related to the Venezuelan election.

“Less than 10 percent of registered are young voters,” Bello-Pardo said. “But they tell their parents friends, they can multiply the information. They share all the videos and pictures.”

Bello-Pardo, who has been part of Voto Joven for more than a year and a half, said she hopes to continue with the organization. She plans to get her Master’s Degree in Latin American and Caribbean studies and continue her involvement in the community.

“This allows me to have a voice and a say and participate in the political process,” Bello-Pardo said. “I look forward to seeing what the future holds with our technological advances.”

Bello-Pardo has her bags ready, she will be travailing to Louisiana with her mom to participate in Sunday’s elections. She has been looking forward to this trip, and hopes to see a big voter turnout.

“I hope I see the same excitement and the big lines to vote,” Bello-Pardo said, referring to the October voter turnout in Louisiana. “I hope to see that kind of Venezuelaness, with the flags and people super happy.”

No matter the turnout, Bello-Pardo said she will keep fighting for democracy. She will continue to advocate for the family she left back home, and for the new Venezuelan family of voters she has met in the United States.

“I love working for Venezuela, for the people” Bello-Pardo said. “I know I am contributing mi granito de arena, my grain of sand.”

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