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Venezuelans Flock To New York to Cast Their Vote

Sunday, October 07, 2012

A chilly rain didn't stop hundreds of Venezuelans from gathering to vote in their country's presidential election.

President Hugo Chavez is seeking his fourth term and faces 40-year-old challenger Henrique Capriles in what many predict will be a close race.

A long line of people wearing the colors of the Venezuelan flag —  yellow, red and blue — and holding umbrellas stretched around the block of the Venezuelan Consulate  in Midtown Manhattan on Sunday morning.

Nearly 3,500 Venezuelans from Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York were expected to cast their vote at the consulate.

Gisela Gil-Egui, who came from Connecticut to vote, wasn’t deterred by the long line.

“We Venezuelans have a way of spotting each other,” she said, “so they would say, ‘Oh, the line is getting bigger but move on, it's moving quickly’, so people were like, cheering each other and helping out."

Alexis Lozada, 37, drove all the way from Pittsburgh to cast his ballot. While he voted for Capriles, he says he does know someone who voted otherwise.

“I have three siblings, we all voted against Chavez,” he said. “My mom voted for Chavez.”

Venezuela has eight consular offices in the United States, with voting ending at 6 p.m. local time at each of the offices. The overseas votes is less than 1 percent of the total number of Venezuelans expected to vote in the election, which will determine Venezuela’s next president.

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