Venezuelan citizens in Tampa Bay to vote on opposition in homeland

Last Updated: Sunday, July 16, 2017, 1:11 PM EDT

Venezuelan citizens living in the Tampa Bay area can cast votes Sunday to send a signal about the direction their troubled homeland is heading. 

  • Venezuelan citizens in Tampa Bay to vote on opposition in homeland
  • Opposition party oppose effort to rewrite Venezuelan consitution
  • President Nicolas Maduro trying to make it easier for socialist party to stay in power

An opposition party in Venezuela, Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, has scheduled a nonbinding international straw poll designed to show that Venezuelans oppose an effort to rewrite the constitution in a way that make it easier for the party of socialist President Nicolas Maduro to remain in power. 

"It has to stop," Anna Maria Tague with Casa Venezuela Tampa Bay, said. "It's got to be a stop and we are going to stop it. We are going to win this war."

Carlos Nogales left Venezuela in 1999 when he was 11-years-old. He said he cast his vote for his family struggling to survive in Venezuela. 

"The fact that I am here and I can't be in my own country, then this is the least I can do, to help my family and give them a better future, something I left Venezuela to have," he said. 

"I hope the whole world will see we don't want Maduro in power and then we want him out of there," Sora McFarland, who left Venezuela 41-years-ago said. "We just have the hope that this is it. We are going to see this man out of Venezuela and I would be one to return there because I would love to go back." 

Voting will take place across Venezuela and in 108 cities outside the South American nation. 

"Everybody from Venezuel needs to come out," Tague said. "The Venezuelan regime wants to own the country. They want everything."

There will be five polling stations in the Tampa Bay area: 

  • Pitas restaurant located at 2734 University Square Drive
  • Tampa Players School of Music located at 923 McMullen-Booth Road
  • Clearwater Dollar to Go located at 3248 Lithia Pinecrest Road
  • Valrico Early Childhood Learning Center located at 3135 Airside Center Drive
  • Lakeland Los Chamos Latin Market located at 3801 McIntosh Road

Voting is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but Casa Venezuela Tampa Bay will keep polls open later if needed. 

Sarasota voters must be 18 or older. Proof of Venezuelan citizenship is required, such as a government ID, passport or birth certificate. 

There will be three questions on the ballot: Does the voter reject or recognize the call for a new constitution, believe Venezuela's armed forces should protect the current constitution and favor free and transparent elections.

Casa Venezuela said after the polls close they will count the votes and fax them to the opposition party in Venezuela.