She now works in real estate in South Florida and owns her own apartment. She plans to stay, regardless of what happens with Chavez.
‘‘Once you have moved here, when you start working and when your children are born in this country, people don’t go back,’’ Jaffe said.
Doral recently elected the first Venezuelan-born mayor in Florida, Luigi Boria. He said he believes most of his constituents feel the same way.
‘‘I think my country now is United States of America,’’ said Boria, who left in 1989.
Venezuelans here say they may celebrate Chavez’s death, but it is unlikely to be like the masses that cheered and danced with flags when Fidel Castro stepped down from power amid his own health concerns in 2008. Like the Cubans, Venezuelans realize that won’t mean imminent change.
‘‘It would give me a sense of relief,’’ Sollami said. ‘‘I can think Venezuela can get better sometime soon.’’
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