Chavez Turning Florida Into Lil' Venezuela

Cuban exodus echoed in flight north from prez's socialist agenda
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2008 2:27 PM CST
Venezuelan nationals receive their ballots 03 December 2006, at a voting facility set up at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. Nearly 17,000 Venezuelan's were registered to vote in the country's most...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Like Cubans fleeing Castro, Venezuelans leery of their country's future under socialist President Hugo Chavez are hightailing it to the US—mainly Florida. Venezuelan expats are raising kids, investing money, and opening businesses in South Florida, the New York Times reports. Asked about returning to Venezuela, “I won’t consider it, as long as there’s that guy there," replies one new Floridian.

Weston, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, is so popular with Venezuelan immigrants it's called Westonzuela, the Times reports. One director of a Venezuelan newspaper in Florida says the principle reason for migration is "fear of change of daily life, the loss of private property, loss of independence from the government, fear of the loss of constitutional rights and individual liberties."