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Governor Scott Joins Venezuelan Expats In Doral; Says Maduro, 'Thugs' Have To Go

Tim Padgett
Florida Governor Rick Scott (right) holds the Venezuelan flag with opposition leader Carlos Vecchio in Doral Monday night.

Anti-government unrest in Venezuela has entered its sixth week – with almost 40 people killed. Venezuelans in South Florida are also turning up the volume against the socialist regime – and Florida Governor Rick Scott joined them Monday night in Doral.

Hundreds of expats sang the Venezuelan national anthem outside the Arepazo Dos restaurant in support of massive street protests back home. They want the ouster of left-wing President Nicolás Maduro, whom they blame for political repression and Venezuela’s economic collapse.

Scott told the crowd he came to help them spread their message farther.

“Worldwide," Scott said, "everybody’s got to tell Maduro and those thugs to leave!”

Scott brought the Florida Medal of Freedom for Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, whom Maduro put in jail three years ago. Scott also spoke by phone from the podium to López’s wife. The medal was accepted by Carlos Vecchio, who heads López’s Voluntad Popular party.

“If Leopoldo were here, I don’t have any doubt that he would dedicate this award to those who have died in Venezuela," said Vecchio, "to those who have been fighting for democracy.”

Maduro calls the demonstrators terrorists. He’s proposing a rewrite of Venezuela’s Constitution, but opponents say he wants to create a dictatorship.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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