Venezuelans in Cayman vote in referendum

Opposition members shout slogans against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro as they wait for the results of a of a symbolic referendum in Caracas. - Photo: AP

Nearly 70 percent of Cayman’s small Venezuelan population voted Sunday in opposition of President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to rewrite their nation’s Constitution.

More than seven million Venezuelans voted in symbolic rejection of that plan, and members of the nation’s expatriate community have hastened to add their voice from their countries of residence.

Adriana Thomas organized a gathering of the local Venezuelan diaspora community Sunday at Pappagallo’s restaurant in West Bay, which is co-owned by Venezuelan Maria Testori. The Venezuelan population of Cayman is believed to be around 50 people, and 34 voted, including four on Little Cayman.

“We tried to bring all our countrymen here together to vote against Nicolas Maduro’s plans to change the Constitution,” said Ms. Thomas. “There are even four Venezuelans on Little Cayman who want to vote. You may say, ‘Only four votes?’ But for us, four votes against Nicolas Maduro is relevant.”

Unidad Venezuela reported on its Facebook page Monday that 7,186,700 people voted with 95 percent of the vote counted, and nearly 700,000 of those votes came from outside Venezuela. Nearly 15 million people, by contrast, voted in the hotly contested 2013 Venezuelan Presidential election.

The crowd at Pappagallo’s needed to show their Venezuelan identification in order to register their vote, and Ms. Thomas said the community was thrilled to see the support both at home and abroad.

“It’s a lot of hope for Venezuela. Hopefully, the outcome will be positive for us,” said Ms. Thomas of the opposition vote. “This is a small island, but we want the world to know we did our bit.”

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