Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor Nicolas Maduro sang with his supporters who packed the streets outside the Miraflores Presidential Palace shortly after he was declared the winner in Venezuela's presidential election Sunday.
Less than 300,000 votes separated Maduro from his opponent Henrique Capriles, who rallied against election day irregularities and voter fraud while calling for a recount during a news conference.
Doral resident and Capriles supporter Valentina Perez told Local 10’s Christina Vazquez she thought her candidate won and accused the Venezuelan government of changing the numbers to keep Chavez’s allies in power.
Since the Miami consulate remains closed, Perez traveled to New Orleans over the weekend to cast her ballot with thousands of other Venezuelans.
Chavez closed the Miami consulate during the build-up to his reelection bid in 2012.
Perez described the mood in New Orleans Sunday as enthusiastic.
“We were all happy, she said.
A similar sentiment was expressed nearly six months ago to the day when Perez and others made that same New Orleans trip to support Capriles, who ran against Chavez.
Chavez would win in October despite his health problems.
He would later, in an unprecedented move, announce former bus driver and party ally Maduro as his successor.
Chavez died March 5. The country’s constitution triggered the election.