This week, Hugo Chavez was re-elected as President of Venezuela, taking 54% of the Venezuelan vote to the 45% of challenger Henrique Capriles, grandson of Holocaust survivors.
This means that Hugo Chavez will be the President of Venezuela until 2019 (when this new presidential term ends). For many Venezuleans (and others), this is not good news and reports are that many of these people are looking to leave the country, relocating families and moving investments. ASAP.
Venezuelans Looking to Invest or Relocate to Miami and South Florida
Word on the street here, and as reported by the El Nuevo Herald in Spanish and the Miami Herald in English, is that Venezuelans are investigating moving themselves as well as moving their investment money to South Florida, and particularly, Miami.
Immigration attorneys are getting calls and emails. Real estate brokers, ditto.
Why the growing interest? Because Hugo Chavez will remain in power for many years in Venezuela, and that is worrisome to many who live in that country because of Chavez's attitudes and policies. They are afraid. Here in South Florida, Venezuelans here, watching the election results on television, were upset and even in tears according to CBS-Miami coverage of a Doral restaurant gathering.
EB5 Visas Help Venezuelans Interested in Investing in Florida and Moving to Miami
One big benefit to these people in Venezuela pondering moving their money, their family, and themselves, to Florida is the United State's Immigrant Investor Visa, the EB5. (For details about this program, read our earlier discussion on the EB5 visa - and how to get one.)
Over half of the Venezuelans who have moved to the United States have expatriated to South Florida (57%). That's according to official federal agency statistics; however, the actual number of Venezuelans living in this area of the Sunshine State may be much higher.
According to the U.S. 2010 Census, the number of Venezuelans living in South Florida increased by 150 percent in the first decade of the new century, most in the past 24 months, according to research by the Sun Sentinel.
Who are these people?
As explained by Guillermo I. Martinez of the Sun Sentinel, these are Venezuelans who have much to offer Florida and Miami and it's a wonderful benefit to our community as well as our economic future that they are choosing South Florida as a haven against the growing violence and Iran-favoring policies of Venezuelan President Chavez.
The Venezuelans who are coming here with their families and their money and their skills are professionals; middle class and upper class families; industry leaders, and entrepreneurs who can only help Florida's residential and commercial real estate industries to flourish as well as other facets of the Florida economy.
Florida knows all too well of the Cuban elite who left Cuba after Castro and how they have contributed to our state since then. Venezuela's story may well be much like Cuba: our Cuba of the 21st Century.