Venezuelan middle class seeks refuge in Miami

Venezuelan middle class seeks refuge in Miami

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MIAMI (AP) — Carlos Salamanca fled Venezuela's political turmoil in January with his wife, two teenage children and $8,000.

Two months into his journey to the U.S., he and his wife spend most nights in a car.

Unlike early waves of Venezuelan immigrants who left with abundant savings after the late President Hugo Chavez came to power, these days Miami's large Venezuelan community is filled increasingly with those from the middle class.

All could afford visas and travel. But they're arriving with a cushion that is considerably less secure.

The contrast has come to the fore in recent weeks as violent protests have erupted in Venezuela against Chavez' leftist successor in power.

Immigration attorneys say they've been flooded with inquiries from Venezuelans seeking political asylum. Most are middle-class families with limited means to leave.

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