Friday, March 5, 2021

Venezuelan Community in Miami


Arriving in Miami for the first time and hearing Spanish in every corner, one wonders if one is really in the United States, and quickly realizes why this city is considered the Hispanic capital of the country. And when visiting the city of El Doral, in Miami-Dade County, you might think you have entered Caracas, where arepas are sold everywhere and the Venezuelan flag is seen more than the American flag.


Venezuelans are the latest unstoppable wave of migration feeding Miami's melting pot of Latino cultures. According to the latest Democratic Vision Foundation study based on U.S. Census Bureau data, there are an estimated 200,000 in South Florida, half of which live all across the country.


Most have arrived in the last 10 years, pushed by the crisis of the government of Nicolás Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez. The number of immigrants went from 164,903 in 2005, to 418,366 in 2017, more than doubling (253%) in just over a decade.


"Around 19,000 Venezuelans live in Doral, 28% of the city's population, plus those we don't know about, because they have arrived recently and end up at an aunt's house, a relative, a friend...", says Alfredo Ortega, the Venezuelan head of the mayor's office, in a conversation with EL MUNDO.


Ortega highlights the significant increase in the number of his compatriots in recent months, and mentions the efforts made by the mayor's office to help the newcomers. They have given seminars and talks on immigration, and have a network of contacts that offer support, such as churches, state offices, and organizations.

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