The Hispanic Institute

Venezuelan Elections May Mean More Immigration, Flight Capital for South Florida

With nationwide elections just finished in Venezuela, it’s wait-and-see time in that country and South Florida.

While President Hugo Chavez consolidated his power by winning the majority of races on Sunday, the immediate impact this may have on South Florida – a leading destination for Venezuelan immigrants and flight capital since Chavez’s 1999 election – is not clear.

A handful of opposition candidates may have won symbolic inroads with a few key gubernatorial and mayoral races, but instability persists, said Jerry Haar, professor of management and international business at Florida International University and a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce board member.

There’s been a continuous drip of wealth and influx of immigrants from Venezuela to South Florida since Chavez took power, Haar said. And while immediate fallout from the elections isn’t certain, the elections won’t stop the flow...

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