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From New Orleans, Louisiana, to Bogota, Colombia, Venezuelans living abroad turned out in droves to participate in their country’s election in hopes of ending Hugo Chavez’s rule. More than 100,000 Venezuelans who live abroad registered to vote for this election.
Chavez faced a major challenge to his socialist rule but ultimately won more than 54% of the vote to defeat Henrique Capriles Radonski.
Election Day in Bogota, Colombia began at 6 a.m., and Darina Florez, who shot the above photo, said the process was calm, enthusiastic, organized and united: “People voted for our democracy, and we will be waiting for the results,” she told CNN en Espanol Sunday.
It was a similar scene in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Adriana Porras said the atmosphere was happy and the lines moved quickly. After the polling center closed, the Venezuelans waiting outside of the embassy sang the national anthem and the "Alma Llanera," a Venezuela folk song.
In the U.S., thousands of expatriates traveled by bus to New Orleans, Louisiana, after Chavez closed Venezuela's consulate in Miami. iReporter Hedi Enghelberg said the atmosphere outside the voting center set up near the consulate was “like a holiday, a big holiday!”
But inside and outside Venezuela, the mood among many voters turned more somber after the polls closed.
“We were expecting to win this election, said Jorge Barrios from Carracas, Venezuela, "but we didn’t win enough votes to change the future of the country.”
Lines move quickly and orderly when they throw every other ballot for Radonski in the trash.
Capriles acknowledged the election was fair and warned againt extremism.
This was closely watched election and there is good reason he won.
One thing about Chavez, he is pleasing a good percentage of the country. You might hate his tactics but he knows how to play one side against the other and with just enough populist support he can get a win. Just wait though. Elections next time will be skewed if he senses the opposition is gaining any more ground.
Nothing about Chavez and his history suggests he would permit a free and fair election to take place. It does not "fit" into his revolution requirements. He placates the people by letting them think there are fair elections while he steals Venezuela's future for some Cubanistic style communists and broken state.
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What a great unity shown by the Venezuelan people,they have voted for their rights,and they have voted for their freedom to choose a leader who can make a big change to their nation,and will hopefully undertakes Hugo Chavez the ruling president for a long time with no big change made for their country.God bless for the people of Venezuela,Hope your desired leader to your country will takes place.