The political science student, 21, wants to show to the authorities that the closure of the Venezuelan consulate in Miami and moving the polling place to the city South Louisiana, about 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) away will not prevent vote on October 7.
And not alone: several groups have organized Venezuelans to mobilize voters by offering travel information via pages Internet, emails, Twitter and Facebook, and local information days meals and neighborhoods frequented by Venezuelans. "show the government is that while we put obstacles in the way, we will exercise the right to vote," said Guevara. The Venezuelan government closed the consulate in Miami in January, just days after the State Department declared "persona non grata" to the consul Livia Acosta Noguera. The decision followed the revelation of a recording that the officer involved in an alleged Iranian plot against the United States. The move affected some 19,500 Venezuelan voters of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South were registered to vote in Miami, the district with more registered voters Venezuelans abroad, most of them opponents of the Chavez government. The number of Venezuelans in the United States increased from 91,500 in 2000 to 215,000 in 2010, according to the 2010 Census. 57% of them live in Florida, in the southeast of the country. Immediately after the closing of the consulate, the opposition led by presidential candidate Henrique Capriles accused authorities of an electoral maneuver to obstruct the vote of the electors of Miami , an allegation that was denied by the government. The majority of Venezuelans living in the United States are middle class or upper middle families of businessmen and professionals who came after Chavez took office in early 1999. Council (CNE) said that as the consulate was closed, I could not open a polling place in Miami and allowed the voters to vote in New Orleans, where the nearest consulate works. To make the trip, however, the Miami voters must pass through the states of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi to get to Louisiana, where the city of New Orleans. The tour is done in about 15 hours by road, and in about one hour by plane, but unless voters go on a chartered plane, could not make the trip in less than six hours because there are no direct flights. way to be sure that they have enough time to vote would need to spend at least one night away from home, driving, aboard a bus or in a hotel. Moreover, although there are some free travel options, most should pay money: at least $ 75 to travel by bus, but there are also travel agencies that offer alternatives to about $ 500 if want to spend a night in New Orleans and moved by air. presidential elections in December 2006 voted 15,800 Venezuelans in the United States, three-fourths of them at the Miami consulate. From 10,800 Venezuelans who voted in the southern Florida, 98% did so for the opposition candidate Manuel Rosales, and the rest by Chavez. The abstention was 34%, according to the CNE. "Voters who voted in Miami, can vote in New Orleans," he said recently in Venezuela, the president of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena. The official emphasized that the voters of Miami "relocated using the same criteria used in the country, placing the voters at the polling place nearest. " opposition voters have criticized the decision to move the polling place in New Orleans, especially since the vote will not be in the consulate but in the convention center. "They have done everything possible for us to vote no. It was so much pressure, they had to open a polling place in New Orleans, far. It's a punishment for us, "he said in an interview with the AP Gisela Parra, a lawyer who served for six years as a judge of the Judicial Council of the country and settled in 2005 in South Florida after being accused of conspiring to overthrow Chavez. For Parra, who travel by plane and will witness table, the authorities "had an obligation" to install the polling place in Miami, the most accessible to the majority of voters. Among the groups organizers Travel and voters are voting youth vote anywhere, and the Bureau of Democratic Unity, a coalition of parties that supported the presidential candidacy of Capriles, the opposition candidate who chose in internal elections held in February. During interviews with AP, numerous members of these groups said they worked for free as volunteers. Beatriz Olavarría heads a commission set up by the coalition to provide information to voters and mobilize witnesses and electoral board members and volunteers who want to help the day of the leading choice voters outside the Convention Center. "Basically we are working to recruit and mobilize people," said Olavarria, who worked training board members and witnesses for the past eight votes of Venezuelans who were in Miami. Olavarría , which reached more than 1,000 emails and 100 phone calls a day in search of information, created www.Miami7octubre.com website, which provides details about the trip, links and contacts. Their hope is that at least half of the nearly 20,000 registered voters move to New Orleans. "If we reach the half would be tremendous ... something tells me at the last minute will be adding many people, "said the woman. Andres Casanova is a financial advisor who along with his childhood friend Andrew Morrison decided to create a platform nonpartisan nonprofit to receive donations and destine to lease aircraft carrying free "as much as possible" of voters in New Orleans. With nearly $ 355,700 in donations from people in different countries received in the website www.Aerovotar.com, six air travel will to move about 1,100 voters. They hope, however, to get more money to bring more people. "We are two Venezuelans who offer a transparent platform to help all people in our situation," said Casanova, 34.Around 3,000 people have registered online to Aerovotar receive aid, but as donations are not enough to carry all free, seats are assigned on a first come. youth also Vote Anywhere have mobilized to seek donations that allow buses to subsidize tickets $ 75 per person. "We want to strengthen democracy in our country. It is a huge effort and we are doing comes from the anger that we are putting a polling so far, "said Vanessa Duran, one of the leaders and founders of the group that was born in 2010 to register voters abroad. "I that if I decide to return the country to give me opportunities. I'm fighting for the country I want, "said Duran, 22, in an attempt to explain why working mobilizing people to vote in New Orleans. The cost of the trip seems to be one of the major obstacles faced by voters, even if the cheapest option is only $ 75, equivalent to the cost of filling a gas tank of a midsize truck. Piñero Connie lost her job as a receptionist at a law firm in July, and has since been unemployed. Determined vote, offered to volunteer Vote Anywhere in return to help him pay at least part of their passage. Also sells necklaces with the figure of the Virgen del Valle, one of the most revered in Venezuela, to help the youth group to raise funds to subsidize bus fares."Definitely worth making the sacrifice," said Pinero, 45. "If we make the effort to make the difficult journey, we have to make an inspiration for Venezuelans who are there (at home) go out and vote," he said the woman, who came alone with her son in Florida 2008. ___ Editors: The correspondent Jorge Rueda contributed to this report from Caracas