ORAL (FLORIDA) (TIP): First the car horns blasted the news on street corners here, a town so packed with Venezuelans that it is nicknamed “Doralzuela.” Then came dozens of yellow, blue and red flags, floating in celebration, followed by bursts of singing. “It’s the Venezuelan national anthem,” Carolina Gamboa, 36, shouted over the ruckus. “This is a triumph for Venezuela. Justice has finally arrived.” In this slice of Miami-Dade County, where more Venezuelan expatriates live than anywhere else in the country and where Hugo Chavez is particularly reviled, news of his death elicited outpourings of raucous celebration and, to many, cautious optimism for the future.
At Arepa 2, a popular restaurant where Venezuelans typically gather to share news from home, crowds streamed in shortly after work to trade words about what could be, in time, a different Venezuela. Many came here to Miami to escape Chavez’s socialist vision, his iron grip on the nation or the explosion in crime that has consumed oil-rich Venezuela in recent years.