Miami-Dade has long been been well known for a diversity of cultures within the county. Among all of the Hispanic immigrant communities in the county, the 50,000 Venezuelans who call Miami-Dade home represent just 2% of its population; however, they have managed to leave their mark on the county's cultural landsacpe, especially in the City of Doral.
A Little Venezuela in Doral
Since the election of controversial Venezuelan president Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias in 1999, the number of Venezuelans migrating to South Florida has grown immensely.
In an attempt to build a new life, they moved to the Miami suburbs, concentrating mainly in the cities of Doral and Weston.
These communities are known for the numerous restaurants that provide citizens with an authentic Venezuelan experience as customers get to taste a piece of their country while still in Miami.
As one walks into Don Pan, a bakery owned by a Venezuelan family, one can smell the famous arepas and empanadas; in the background, you hear Globovision, a Venezuelan news channel known for their opposition to the government.
Places like Panna Express and Don Pan provide the community with a space to share time with the family while the next generation experiences a touch of Venezuelan culture in South Florida.
In Doral, nearly every five blocks you can find a Venezuelan owned restaurant like Panna Express, which has become famous for their exquisite tequeños and crispy empanadas.
Venezuelans have brought more to South Florida than just arepas; there are also galleries filled with vibrant Venezuelan art.
Pat Morales is a Venezuelan artist who resides in Miami and creates colorful pieces with acrylics inspired by social issues that she considers important and allowing others to learn more about the Venezuela's culture and the warmth of its people.
Another example of the enormous influence Venezuelans have had here in South Florida is in the import-export industry, where Venezuelans have an enormous impact.
Trucks, forklifts and hardworking men and women make possible the transport of all kind of goods to-and-from Venezuela.
Between North West 58th and 74th street in Doral, you can pick from any of the freight-forward businesses that ship tons to Venezuela daily from the port of Miami.
Venezuelans have found their way into other aspects of soceity in South Florida and are even having an impact in the environmental arena.
For example, Green Gallon solutions is a four million gallon biodiesel plant located in the heart of "Doral-zuela" and owned by a group of Venezuelan investors that just opened their doors, providing needed jobs for local citizens.
Concerned by the political situation in their country, Venezuelans recenlty gathered to hear former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Randosky who came to Miami to give hope to those wishing to go back to Venezuela.
The tri-color of the Venezuelan flag covers the bodies of those who are active citizens of the South Florida community but carry the love for their country of birth.
The number of venezuelans in Miami Dade has increased considerably since the election of Hugo Chavez in 1999, when many either left voluntarily or fled, looking for a better life. In their attempts to find the American dream, they gathered in the Miami suburbs where, through their influence, they have recreated a small Venezuela.
Thanks to the impact that Venezuelans have made in the City of Doral, the suburb is now called “Doralzuela” by many. Venezuelan restaurants, art galleries and freight forward businesses can be found all around the city and this makes it an authentic venezuelan experience.
Breaking it down by the numbers
The following infographic shows how the Venezuelan community has influenced South Florida’s economy. Venezuelan influenced from import and export of commercial goods to the real estate market. This growing community is a strong player in the development of new businesses and international trade.