Venezuela’s political opposition coalition, the Mesa de Unidad Democrática (Coalition for Democratic Unity—MUD), yesterday called for the Venezuelan government to immediately create a polling station for registered Venezuelan voters in Miami.
According to MUD spokesman Pedro Mena, “Venezuelans legally registered in the National Electoral Council (CNE) in the consular area of Miami cannot exercise their universal and constitutional right to vote as established under national and international law.” According to the statement, 23,000 Venezuelan residents of Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia are registered to vote in Venezuela’s October 7 presidential election.
The Venezuelan government closed its Miami consulate in January 2012, a few days after the U.S. State Department expelled Consul Livia Acosta. However, the opposition coalition sees the decision as an opportunity to retaliate against Venezuelans living in Miami, many of whom left Venezuela in part due to political concerns with President Hugo Chávez’ government.
In 2006, three-quarters of the 15,800 registered Venezuelans voters in the United States voted at the Miami consulate. Nine out of ten votes in Miami were in favor of the opposition.