Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez '13 on Hugo Chavez's Victory

To Leave or Not to Leave
Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez, '13
Foreign Policy
October 17, 2012

On the evening of Sunday, October 7, a small group of Venezuelan expats gathered together on Chicago's South Side to hear the official results of the presidential election as they came in. We had an idea of what was coming, but, even so, the announcement of the official results came as a blow. Maria, a first-year medical resident, was first to break the silence. "I can never go home now," she said. "I had hoped that I might someday go home."

The Venezuelan diaspora is roughly estimated to consist of about one million people worldwide, with particularly large concentrations in the United States, Spain, and Colombia. In the presidential election, its members overwhelmingly supported the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles -- who, they had hoped, might set about reversing some of President Hugo Chávez's more hard