Venezuelans gather in Doral to show support for Caracas march

Protesters flood streets seeking recall of Maduro

DORAL, Fla. – Amid protests in Venezuela, some Venezuelans living in South Florida gathered Thursday in a show of solidarity at a restaurant in Doral.

Opponents of Venezuela's government began flooding the streets of Caracas in a major test of their strength and the government's ability to tolerate growing dissent.

The march, called the "taking of Caracas," aims to pressure electoral authorities to allow a recall referendum this year against President Nicolas Maduro.

Protesters in Venezuela carrying signs chanted, "It's going to fall, it's going to fall, the government is going to fall."

The buildup to the protest was tense, with Maduro's government jailing several prominent activists, deploying security forces across the city and warning of bloodshed.

Meanwhile, in Doral, a city with the largest population of Venezuelan residents in the U.S., Venezuelans gathered inside El Arepazo 2 Venezuelan Cuisine to watch the protests on satellite TV.

Many Venezuelans in South Florida said they've had enough of the conditions in their native country.

Yasmina Sanabria, who organized the demonstration, said they wanted "to show to the world that every single Venezuelan is protesting against the situation there."

There were few immediate signs of violence Thursday, though Maduro this week repeatedly accused his opponents of plotting violence during the march to pave the way for a coup such as the one that briefly toppled his late predecessor, Hugo Chavez, in 2002. He said authorities had arrested people possessing military fatigues and C4 explosives, and who had plans to fire upon the crowds dressed as national guard members. He didn't say who he believed was behind the alleged coup plan.

About the Authors: