A woman holds a flag outside the Venezuelan Consulate in Chicago. (Credit: Steve Miller)
CHICAGO (CBS) — Hundreds of people have been voting today at the Venezuelan consulate downtown – as Venezuela elects a successor to Hugo Chavez, the fiery president who died last month.
The Venezuelan consulate is in the Civic Opera building, and the sidewalk below has been filled with demonstrators like Michelle Faraco, who voted against the man Hugo Chavez wanted as his successor – and for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.
“I vote for Henrique because he proposes what we’re all looking for. And it’s peace. Union. He proposes change for us.
“We’ve been 14 years in a country that has been lost into insecurity, hate. It’s like a civil war there.”
Venezuela’s Consul General in Chicago, Jesus Rodriguez, says he’s organized half a dozen elections in his eight years here.
“And the results are always like 95 or 97 percent in favor of candidates that are against the government candidate.”
Sergio Cardenas drove in with his family from Minnesota to vote.
Rodriguez, who owes his job to the Chavez administration, says he thinks Chavez’ handpicked successor, Nicolas Maduro, would make a good president.
Rodriguez says turnout is down from the October election, which swept Chavez into office for his fourth term.
Chavez died March 5.
Rodriguez says about 1600 Venezuelans are registered to vote at the Chicago consulate.
He says 1200 voted in October.
This election, he says, turnout is expected to be lower.