'We want to recover our freedom': Venezuelan immigrants vote in symbolic election
Posted 7:00 p.m. Sunday
Updated 8:27 p.m. Sunday
Cary, N.C. — Thousands of people in Cary voted Sunday on an issue that’s tearing apart their home country.
A symbolic vote Sunday in Venezuela allowed residents to protest the current president’s plans to rewrite the constitution and immigrants who have resettled in the Triangle voiced their opinions as well.
On July 30, an election will be held in Venezuela, but those who oppose President Nicolas Maduro, his socialist party and his desire to change the current constitution believe it will be rigged.
"He's removing every single right. We don't have civil rights, we don't have human rights, we don't have anything. We don't have food, we don't have medicine," said organizer Maru Quintero.
People waited in line for several hours in the heat and rain to participate in the international mock vote, which asked participants if they reject the constitutional assembly, if want armed forces to back congress and if they support the formation of a government comprised of both Maduro backers and opponents.
"It's a crisis economic, social going on in our country and this is the way we are telling the world," said voter Ana Mirabal.
"I do believe we are under a dictatorship and I hope this situation is going to change," said voter Christian Gonzalez.
The line for the symbolic vote in Cary stretched around the block before the polls opened at 8 a.m.
“This has been nonstop. People coming and coming and coming, having the chance to express themselves, because that is something we don’t have in Venezuela. We don’t have elections. For us, this is completely unexpected,” said Quintero.
Opposition voting also took place in Venezuela, but for those living in North Carolina, the issues are no less personal.
"It is so important for our country because we want to recover our freedom," said voter Jessica Viloria.
Organizers did not expect the turnout they saw Sunday and said they had no idea there were so many Venezuelans in the Triangle and from neighboring states and communities who drove to Cary to take part in the symbolic vote.