Venezuelans rally in Weston for regime change in their homeland

Renato Elia was on a business trip in Brazil when his wife called from their home in Venezuela to tell him their daughter and two sons had escaped a kidnapping attempt in a country that was growing increasingly volatile.

Ten years later, they are American citizens living in Miami-Dade County.

“We came for a week to wait for some security at home but then my wife said let’s stay another week, and then a month, and then a year,” Elia, 53, said. “The situation started deteriorating in Venezuela and we couldn’t go back.”

His story was a familiar one to the more than 600 Venezuelans and their supporters who rallied at Cypress Bay High School in Weston on Saturday morning.

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