Thousands of Venezuelan citizens living in the United States are heading to New Orleans to cast votes in their country’s presidential election. Many are coming from Florida, where opposition to President Hugo Chavez is strong.
President Chavez closed the consulate in Miami in January, after one of its officials was linked to an alleged Iranian plot involving a cyber-attack on the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau says more than half of the 215,000 Venezuelans living here as of 2010 reside in Florida.
They’ll be coming to New Orleans now, along with those from Georgia, North and South Carolina. Many are businesspeople and professionals who left when Chavez became president in 1999.
As in past elections, New Orleans remains the voting place for Venezuelans in Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
Voting begins at 6 a.m. Sunday at the Convention Center. New Orleans police are in charge of traffic and public safety during the proceedings.