Photo: Orlando Sentinel

We’re going straight, to, the Wild Wild West!

West Miami-Dade County, Florida, that is.

Just 60 years ago, the western portion of the Miami metropolitan area resembled a scene from Jumanji. Originally part of the Everglades —a wetland often compared to a grassy, slow-moving river in the southern tip of Florida— now a significant part of this swampland is known as “Doral.”

Just 60 years ago, the western portion of the Miami metropolitan area resembled a scene from Jumanji.

With all-American beginnings (in the 1950s, real estate couple Doris and Alfred Kaskel purchased 2,400 acres of land in West Miami and built their dream golf course and country club, naming it after a combination of “Doris” and “Alfred”), Doral has lived many lives since founded: in its’ second year of operation, it hosted the first Doral Open Invitational, Florida’s major PGA event. Since then, the country club has had several owners, the latest of which is President Donald Trump. Decades later, Kaskel’s grandson Bill developed Doral Estates and Doral Park attracting new families to the area with new residences, a police station, lighting, roads and landscaping that soon followed.

As the city’s slogan reads, Doral has gone “From Everglades to Industrial Center to Hometown,” and I would add: “…to Doralzuela.”

I mean, you know the place. Whether it’s una tía, un pana, or la ex, every Venezuelan knows someone who lives in Doral. Even if you don’t have any personal links, you’ve definitely ordered a package a domicilio, or asked a friend or family member for un trámite, vuelta de Cadivi or other fastidious favor. And chances are, it all traces back here.
Driving through Doral today is reminiscent of Caracas in the 90s. At every corner, you’ll find bakeries smelling of fresh cachitos, boutique stores selling Venezuelan-designed jewelry and fashion, and dozens of flyers promoting gigs or theater performances with Venezuelan artists as headliners. The sight of women who manage to look perfect for even the most insignificant of errands, and the jam-packed car washes at all hours (Venezuelans’ obsession with keeping spotless vehicles is real) also contribute to Doral feeling like “home.” And although that saudade that Juan Nagel mentions for La Venezuela de Antier will always be an undertone, this is a haven for thousands of Venezuelan expatriates and refugees, the largest number in the U.S., who have made of Doral their hopeful next chapter.

Doral’s population rose by 26.1% from 2010 to 2016, and within the Hispanic demographic of the city, almost 32% are of Venezuelan origin.

According to the last Census, Doral’s population rose by 26.1% —roughly 12,000 people—, from 2010 to 2016, and within the Hispanic demographic of the city, almost 32% are of Venezuelan origin. And we’re making our mark.

Before “Doralzuela the place,” comes “Doralzuela the feeling,” a vibe you only get from your people. When my husband lost his debit card, it was Mr. Ivan from Barquisimeto (former-languages-professor-turned-gas-station-cashier at our corner Speedway), who found it by the pump and saved it for him. Whenever I take a Lyft to the airport, nine out of ten times my drivers hail from Venezuela. Between stories of “Yo era, en mi época” and “Cuando yo hacía,” they make sure to offer the best service around.

“Doralzuela the place” is also a product of the brain-drain that has plagued Venezuela the past 19 years. Professionals of all disciplines, from business to entertainment, gastronomy to fitness, journalism to the arts, are bringing their know-how and making this city thrive. Doral is the Fastest Growing City in Florida, now home to nearly 8,000 businesses, cultural hotspots, award-winning food, top-ranking schools and each of these categories has Venezuelan entrepreneurship and ingenuity behind it.

Speaking of schools, Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School, with a large Venezuelan student body, is already considered one of the best schools in the United States, and it’s only a couple years old.

When I first moved here as a kid in 1996, Doral wasn’t even a thing; it was formally incorporated as a city in 2003, with a population of less than half of what it is today. I soon moved away, and it wasn’t until I moved back in 2015 that I witnessed the city’s transformation.

This growth speaks of the need to serve all the Doralzuelans that keep coming to this little ‘burb. An example of a Doral success story is Zumba instructor and personal trainer to Venezuelan actresses Gaby Espino and Marjorie de Sousa, Janettsy Chiszar. After riding the struggle bus in Miami for several years, Janettsy moved to Doral in 2014 and came to stay. She opened her first gym, Instapower 21, next to the iconic Venezuelan gathering hole, El Arepazo.

This growth speaks of the need to serve all the Doralzuelans that keep coming to this little ‘burb.

When I asked her what Doral and her gym mean to her, Janettsy told me
“Instapower 21 is much more than a gym, it’s a window of opportunity for me to help. Whether it’s giving Venezuelan instructors and trainers a job, donating a proceed of our earnings to non-profits back home or simply helping clients to cambiarse el chip and adapt to life in the U.S., my gym is a place that contributes to Venezuela every day.”

Like Janettsy, there are many other Doralzuelans making us proud. Venezuelan-owned Bocas House, serving Venezuelan-Peruvian cuisine and known for their insane milkshakes, is changing the food game here in Miami. The brains behind Bocas are César González —former nightclub owner in his native San Cristóbal—, and Levin De Grazia, hailing from a family of successful restaurateurs.

Bocas House was this year’s winner of The Miami Herald Munch Madness bracket, a big deal considering they beat out 64 others to be voted the best restaurant in Miami. To what do González and De Grazia owe their success?

Everything on the menu is “made in-house.”

All this doesn’t mean everything’s rainbows and butterflies in Doral, though. Hidden behind some walls are traces of illicit activities that have spilled from some of the worst criminal networks operating in Venezuela today. The city has been the site of several money laundering and drug trafficking busts, with U.S. federal investigations reporting millions of dollars in fraudulent transactions stemming from here. These covert operations align with some of bad rap the city gets, as a haven for fleeing chavistas.

But make no mistake: the Venezuelans who come here to make an honest living outnumber the bad seeds by a lot, and they make Doral worthwhile.

The Venezuelans who come here to make an honest living outnumber the bad seeds by a lot, and they make Doral worthwhile.

On the heels of Venezuela’s Independence Day, with the escalating humanitarian crisis, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find reasons to celebrate, but Doral’s 15th birthday should be one of them. The many Venezuelans that have moved to Doral and given their time, talent and treasures to this city have contributed to make it one of the most coveted areas to live, work and play in Miami. Like Janettsy and Mr. Ivan, my Lyft drivers and the owners of Bocas House, there are many starting anew, and if they can make it here, they can make it anywhere.

May the energy so many have invested in building a “home” in Doralzuela be deployed to rebuild back home soon, too.

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92 COMMENTS

  1. Let me see if I’ve got this right. U.S. citizen taxpayers drain the swamp, build the infrastructure, provide the blood of our children to maintain security and ensure freedom so Venezuelan “entrepreneurs” (carpetbaggers) can have a safe haven to flourish in Florida is supposedly a good thing? How about this unique idea. Stay home and clean up your own mess. Every time you encounter atrocities committed by the Venezuelan government, be thee expatriates or stay behinds, look in the mirror and you’ll be looking at the problem. A bitter spill to swallow but there it is. How anyone can watch their kinfolks die and be brutalized, without taking an eye for an eye, is beyond me. Cowardice should not be rewarded by a lifelong trip to Dade County’s version of Disney World.

    • I doubt you have ever been to Doral with this comment. We wouldn’t have Italian-American or Irish-American culture if it was for that logic. Maybe they have should have stayed and fixed their economy instead of seeking better opportunities in a foreign land. That almost sounds like the American Dream doesn’t it?

      I paid taxes for a long time before I became a U.S citizen. Just saying.

    • @ASA058 With respect, especially with the compliments you have given…..

      “Let me see if I’ve got this right. U.S. citizen taxpayers drain the swamp, build the infrastructure, provide the blood of our children to maintain security and ensure freedom so Venezuelan “entrepreneurs” (carpetbaggers) can have a safe haven to flourish in Florida is supposedly a good thing? ”

      YES, it is.

      It would be a bad thing if said “carpetbaggers” insisted on violating American law, refusing to tolerate American culture (whatever it may be) or native Americans, or the like (and I have some misgivings given the socialist politics). But if they’re not doing that they are quire welcome here.

      After all, the first English colonies were largely either those formed by people seeking shelter (like the Pilgrims and Georgia’s debtors), or those seeking to make a buck (like the Jamestown Planeters). And whether they knew it or not the Minutemen staring at the Redcoats across Concord Bridge were fighting to help keep their polities free of the grip of oppression and able to take in people sheltering in the centuries to come. From poverty, from famine, and from tyranny.

      Why should we hold Venezuelans to a different standard than the one we do for Germans like the ’48er, Italians fleeing autocracy or Fascism, or Eastern Europeans and Viets fleeing the Red Star?

      That also doesn’t mean being given a free hand or pushing around everybody else. I expect them to be good, productive citizens or resident aliens. Full Stop. The same as I would for anybody.

      ” How about this unique idea. Stay home and clean up your own mess. ”

      I’m sympathetic to the idea.

      But it sucks to be the last person alive in a revolution. Just ask the Hungarians after 1848 or 1956.

      And why should the people who have enough of an idea to see what’s wrong be punished if other people aren’t willing to stand with them?

      I mean, it’s not like every Dutchman Frenchman, Pole, or Belgian fought to the death trying to defend mainland Europe in the face of hopeless odds. At least a lot of them knew when discretion was the better part of valor and went into exile to – here’s the thing- continue FIGHTING to reclaim their natio.

      “Every time you encounter atrocities committed by the Venezuelan government, be thee expatriates or stay behinds, look in the mirror and you’ll be looking at the problem.”

      Only part of the problem.

      Again, how do you fight it alone?

      ” A bitter spill to swallow but there it is.”

      See above?

      ” How anyone can watch their kinfolks die and be brutalized, without taking an eye for an eye,
      is beyond me.”

      It’s been thousands of years since Hammurabi’s Stele.

      Most people in relatively civilized societies aren’t used to *instinctively* thinking in such terms. They aren’t gangsters or murderers. And often times they want to have the wrongs done unto them exposed and made right, not compounded.

      That’s why they are so vulnerable to gangsters and murderers taking command of the state and dominating society.

      “Cowardice should not be rewarded by a lifelong trip to Dade County’s version of Disney World.”

      And who are you to decide who is a coward and who is not?

      How do you determine that?

  2. (1) To write this with a straight face your ancestors must have liquidated their castles and rich landholdings in Europe or somewhere and donated all that money the U.S. government when they emigrated here so as not to be considered carpetbaggers
    (2) As is evident from the piece, the Venezuelan immigrants are creating wealth and jobs which generate taxes which help pay for YOUR social security, Medicare, and for our common security – Oh, and those immigrants’ kids will be more than happy to go to war to defend their, OUR country
    (3) It’s not up to you to pass judgement on the wherefores and whys people emigrate – It’s not like they are here illegally – They have as many rights and obligations as you have. Under the law they are IDENTICAL to you. You are not special, my friend. Even with their strong accents and strange customs they are your equals. YOU ARE NOT BETTER THAN THEM. YOU ARE NOT BETTER THAN US!
    (4) That deep, bitter, mean streak you exhibit is not uncommon in the States these days, as many of the new immigrants will at some point discover. To them I say: Don’t despair! These bad apples are numerous but they are still a minority. Take comfort in the fact that you have the right to pursue your own version of the dream, and that with a bit of luck, a lot of hard work, and support from your friends and the community, you will make it
    (5) As soon as you can, register to vote. Participate in public life. Pay it forward. And vote!

  3. To be fair…

    They stole the name Doralzuela from Westonzuela. Weston, in Broward County, is north of Doral.

    Weston is where the first wave of wealthy and successful Venezuelans emigrated right as Hugo stepped up to the podium to take the oath in 1999. Half saw the writing on the wall re socialism…the other half got out with their corruption money. (Who buys a house for cash?)

    The Johnny-Come Latelies went to Doral.

    The houses and gated communities Weston are beautiful, and there isn’t a single dirty, shitty-looking part of town, unlike Doral.

    I was just in Weston yesterday.

  4. It’s very nice that expats can find someplace to find home, and commune with people of similar values. But, I offer you some (generic) advice. It is this advice that has helped my in-laws flourish in the United States.

    Be careful of looking back too much and not looking forward enough. For the Venezuelans who are now Americans, you are now Americans, not Venezuelan-Americans. My wife and her family (the ones who have taken the oath of citizenship) are now Americans. Their family WAS from Venezuela, and before that, Spain. It is very nice to remember where you came from, but it isn’t nearly as important as what you are doing, and where you are going. Doral should be a very nice place to visit, but it shouldn’t become a Venezuela redux. America (even one city block) shouldn’t become Venezuela/Italy/Ireland etc.

    Welcome to America! We are a big old melting pot. Bring your culture and your food, but leave your bullshit with Venezuela. Beware of “Little (fill in the name of foreign nation of your choice)” mentalities. I have many Cuban friends, but I am tired of those pricks who can’t stop talking shit about the Castros 50+ years after their families fled. Either pick up a gun and fight, or shut the f**k up. My in-laws have taken this lesson to heart.

    • One of the beautiful things about being an immigrant in the U.S. (and there are so many!) is that one can freely associate with whomever one damn pleases and create and/or participate in any culture one likes regardless of what busybodies and schoolmarms think. The U.S. has never had a national culture to which immigrants must adhere. I imagine that all that talk of the Castros wears thin on the patience, but so does talk of football or the latest episode of game of thrones or whatever it is that poople watch these days. To each his own.
      In any case, data the “problem”, to the extent there is one, seems to take care of itself: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/us/newest-immigrants-assimilating-as-well-as-past-ones-report-says.html

      • I love immigrants. I want more (legal) of them. The “more melting pot” the better the soup I have always thought. And I agree that most immigrants who arrive assimilate nicely (the Vietnamese/Hmong from my youth, the more recent Bosnians.) But many cultures arrive with some sort of chip on their shoulder and expect America to not only accept them, but embrace THEIR former nations culture. WE must change for THEM. I say bullshit. If your culture was so great, go back there.

        Have your yearly/monthly/weekly festivals. I love it. But we aren’t going to change our culture so that the new arrivals don’t feel “oppressed”.

        That is what has changed since the beginning of immigration in this country.

      • America works because immigrants assimilate, or at least they should. Look at what’s fucking happening in England!

        So your defense about holding onto one’s native culture is pretty week.

        We also have an idiot who comes here daily, from the Great White North, trying to give Americans a lesson on Democracy and Freedom.

        Now THAT’S just plain stupid.

        • “America works because immigrants assimilate…”

          Shoot, somebody should have explained that to Crazy Horse. Poor guy didn’t realize that Custer’s visit to his camp at Little Big Horn was just an effort to assimilate into the Lakota culture.

          • You might want to run your insights into America’s history by Turtler. I’m sure that he, much better than I, can enlighten you about Sitting Bull’s dogs in this particular fight. Interestingly Sitting Bull fled with his peoples to Canada where Canuck’s ancestors let them almost starve to death. Their demise was prevented by returning to the U.S. So the veterans of Little Big Horn did actually assimilate in a sense. Unfortunately it was to a society that for decades to come would always see them as the enemy. I fear some of the wiser commenters on CC will be jumping ship when they realize: 1) Canuck and the person citing the NYT’s to prove a point are joining hands to indulge in typical liberal labeling and bigotry (how dare you old males have Venezuelan wives?); 2) Other posters too befuddled to know the difference between male and female circumcision but yet pass judgment on their merits.

          • Excellent analogy! The Plains Indians fought fiercely to preserve their land and their culture. They won at the Little Big Horn but soon lost the war.

            Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. I plan to win.

          • @Fatima

            “Shoot, somebody should have explained that to Crazy Horse. Poor guy didn’t realize that Custer’s visit to his camp at Little Big Horn was just an effort to assimilate into the Lakota culture.”

            The irony is that you say this in an attempt to mock the US and those who favor assimilation, but you ironically prove that point.

            I mean, seriously, have you thought of what North America would look like without assimilation and shared co-existence? Well actually I don’t need to ask. Because we had a superb picture of that from the 17th and early/mid 18th centuries. A time of wholesale, total war amongst Amerindian peoples and European colonies alike, where massacre, slaughter, and hostage taking was THE NORM.

            Have you even freaking thought about how the OLd School Iroquois and the M’kmaq (a rivalry that lasted as long as the HundreD Years’ War) would get along without some kind of shared political or cultural norms?

            I mean, FFS, even after the “Great” French-Indian War when everything up to the Mississippi was under the hegemony of the British Empire there were such jagged political and legal boundaries along with human greed that it sparked MULTIPLE wars that the Revolution was just the biggest of.

            I mean, we saw a group of violent Virginia settlers underDaniel Greathouse crossed the borer and perfidiously murdered the entire family of Chief Logan of the Mingo. Then Chief Logan *blamed somebody who had nothing at all to do with this atrocity* and then took a warband into Virginia territory to murder a bunch of random Viginia settlers who had nothing to do with Either the man Logan accused of the crime nor the guy who actually did it.

            The US took it upon itself to try and fix these centuries of nationalist and tribal warring by forcing the various communities it absorbed to agree t one jurisdiction and one law. This process was *OFTEN* conducted violently and unjustly, but it was done. And as a result M’Kmaq and Iroquois and French and Anglo-American live side by side in peace as free citizens. And even a thug like Custer could see the benefit of that.

            (Oh and PS, while our Canadian friends or not-so-friends may try and osture about how PC and Tolerant they were, they conducted the same kind of policies.

            Unless someone wants to talk about the deportation of the Acadians or what happened to Louie Riel.)

      • @Jacques “One of the beautiful things about being an immigrant in the U.S. (and there are so many!) is that one can freely associate with whomever one damn pleases and create and/or participate in any culture one likes regardless of what busybodies and schoolmarms think. ”

        Agreed.

        But just because I *Can* join the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan or La Raza (same difference different branding, really) doesn’t mean I should. This is the difference between having a Right to do something, and having Justification to do so.

        “The U.S. has never had a national culture to which immigrants must adhere.”

        I’m sorry, but anybody saying this is engaging in an instance of WILLFULLY MISSING THE FREAKING POINT.

        Yeah, it’s true that the US has never had a national culture to which all immigrants must *adhere* to, but it has to abide by some of the fruits and mores created by said national culture. Namely the law.

        This is why the “Pennsylvania Dutch” emigrated to the US centuries before and many of them still speak their own dialect- if not language- and nobody gives much of a damn.Because there’s no law that one has to speak English or engage in X Y or Z of American culture.

        What IS a law, however, is that they have to abide by American laws (which were a product first of Anglo-Scottish culture and then later the great big American mosh pit/melting pot) while at the same time government did not have to stoop to accommodate you.

        This is why it is legal for government positions to have language fluency requirements. This is why the Continental Army had German-speaking units but the US Congress (narrowly) turned down a vote requiring its legislation to be copied into German.

        Now anybody trying to convince me that the US never had a national culture that new immigrants had to adjust and live in conjunction with has to explain to me why Congress has always conducted business in English and- more importantly- has been quite free to not conduct business in other languages, even to accommodate its legal citizens.

        The difference is, the Pennsylvania Dutch have a long tradition of adherence to the law and “rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” almost unconditionally. So there was no problem. Likewise with the countless people who have spoken a foreign language at home while otherwise being law abiding citizens.

        The problem is if people are unwilling to at least abide by that minimum barrier for acceptance, of the law. And that is the problem.

        “I imagine that all that talk of the Castros wears thin on the patience, but so does talk of football or the latest episode of game of thrones or whatever it is that poople watch these days. To each his own.”

        Agreed there.

        Oh and PS: have you gotten a good definition of Fascism yet?

          • Call yourself whatever the fuck you want. Call yourself an astronaut and walk around with a beer bottle sticking out of your ass and cluck like a chicken.

            You won’t be an American until you move on from your “hyphen American” bullshit, which is why Dade County is such a cesspool. Too many “hyphens” and not enough Americans.

            Go back to Chavismo and fight for your country, if you are so enamored with Venezuela. Or is your goal to become like the millions of Cuban-Americans infecting South Florida and lament the fact that someone else WITH SOME BALLS didn’t liberate Cuba for them?

            We have enough home grown bed wetters and chicken shits in the United States already without adding more fake outrage to the mix.

          • No ones fucking outraged. I will leave that for the SJWs and the alt-right.

            You have no idea what some people have given to fight against the dictatorship in Venezuela and continue to do so from abroad. How many charities continue to operate to feed children and help the elderly who are dying because the lack of medicine.

            The protests from 2014 to 2017 were financed from Miami and Madrid. Venezuelans massively donated supplies to keep protestors on the street with food and gear. The exiled elite provided considerable financial backing, which include paying many of the front line protestors to be able to protest instead being at their job. Where do you think all of that comes from?

            How many people left the country to be able to feed their family in Venezuela?

            Everyone has an important role to play and living abroad isn’t giving up or being a coward.

            You aren’t Venezuelan, thus you don’t really give a shit.

            I don’t care about being 100% American and neither do the majority of people who were born somewhere else because they honor where they came from. Their children will Americans, but they will never be.

          • If you say so.

            My wife and I have only spent approximately half a million dollars over the last 30 years supporting her extended family in Venezuela, and then getting them out and set up here.

            So excuse me if I am tired of listing to the same bullshit over and over about how glorious Venezuela is/was and how PROUD Venezuelans are when they won’t do the first thing to throw of the yoke of oppression. Tottering around like pussies with a placard that says, “I want a raise!” is dissent, but it’s pussy level dissent.

            Where are all the dead colectivo bodies?

            Perhaps some introspection is due on your part? You say you don’t care about being “100% American”, yet you and your ilk bitch and piss and moan about being sidelined and disparged… and you think that we should treat you like equals? Well, you said it yourself. You want to be a special “hyphen” American.

            Someday, maybe you’ll want to sit at the grown ups table.

          • Now you’re just contradicting yourself. You helped your wife’s relatives leave Venezuela instead of allowing them to fight against the nacro-dictatorship.

            Come back when you can form a concise and rational argument.

          • Also, who the fuck is complaining about not being treated as equal?

            The U.S has been great to me and I have received a great deal of love and acceptance from this country. I will forever be grateful for that.

            I just won’t abandon when I’m from because some dude on the internet who can’t form arguments says you have to be 100% American.

            Dual Nationality is a thing. I’m sure you have heard of it.

          • Are you “S” or “J?”

            Are you too fucking stupid to know that we realize you’re the same guy?

            Or do you have muscular distrophy and can’t actually come up with a consistent avatar here?

            Seriously, dude. You’re a fucking idiot.

            S and J are retarded to begin with, so can’t you at least pick ONE!?

          • I mistyped on the second post. Both of those are my.

            You’re the fucking idiot. You’re the reason people make fun of the GOP and anyone who lives in Rural America.

            Go kill yourself

    • It’s why I chose the northern part of the US when I emigrated. My US citizen wife asked if I’d rather live in Weston or Doral, to feel more at home, but I wanted a wholly new experience, so we lived in New England first, before settling in Pennsylvania. I was born in Venezuela, but I’m becoming an American, no hyphen.

      • That’s equally as commendable. Choosing to embrace a culture to the fullest is a personal choice.

        Others don’t get to decide that for you.

          • I never said that. You said that.

            You should speak the language in any country you live in. I speak 4 different languages at a conversational level. It takes a reasonable intelligent person only a couple of months to a year max to pick up a catagory 2 language or lower.

            I shame anyone who doesn’t learn to speak the language of a country they live in within one year because it really isn’t that hard when you live there.

            I meant that if you want to call yourself American and not Venezuelan-American. That’s perfectly fine. it’s a personal choice.

            Personally, I’m going to leave the U.S soon to the Netherlands for work and if people ask where I’m from, I will tell them I’m Venezuelan-American.

            Venezuela gave me life and the U.S helped me grow. I will honor both for what they have given me.

          • Says the guy named Ira, as in angry.

            We can tell from your fucking writing.

            Go away you xenophobic piece of shit.

          • Apparently there is another John posting. I’m the one that posted the story about being in Miami. I also try to help MRubio and other people.
            this post is not mine.

            Identifying yourself differently would be helpful.

        • And the ass-hats who move to America and refuse to assimilate will be treated with the continued disdain they so richly deserve.

          So there is that.

          • You are confusing assimilating with abandoning being Venezuelan.

            Like I said in another post.

            Venezuela gave me life and the U.S helped me grow. I will honor both for what they have given me.

          • ElGuapo and Ira, I don’t get the issue.

            I don’t get why people keep saying speak English when no one here has said the contrary. Why the fuck would you not learn the language in a country where you live. That’s idiotic.

            Or why you want people to renounce their citizenship from other countries when there’s no law regarding you to do so.

            Culture doesn’t equal language only. In fact, 56 different countries speak English as their primary language and it’s the most spoken second language in the world. You need to know English to communicate with people, but not because it’s American.

            Being American is about embracing the American Dream, Social Mobility, celebrating our holidays, respecting our laws and contributing to the country by working (plenty of “Americans” who just leech off the system”.

            I don’t give a shit if someone wants to call themselves Martian-American if they contribute to the U.S.

            Only people who feel threaten would care.

          • John, how can you not get it?

            I have family from Venezuela here in South Florida who emigrated 2 years ago, and they can’t put two fucking coherent English sentences together.

            After two fucking years.

            It not only disgusts me, it disgusts my WIFE, a native Venezuelan.

            But maybe I shouldn’t mention that because Canucklehead here, a guy who fucks his pillow for sexual satisfaction.

            I can’t imagine any non-retarded woman would have anything to do with this shmuck!

          • IRA. LEARN TO FUCKING READ.

            NO ONE FUCKING SAID YOU SHOULDN”T HAVE TO LEARN ENGLISH. NO ONE SHOULD MOVE TO A COUNRY AND NOT LEARN THE LOCAL LANGUAGE.

            Your wife must be an ugly hag because I don’t know a single attractive Venezuelan woman who would deny her heritage like that. o routinely date gringos. It’s only the ones who come from lower social statuses where they feel they are improving by dating a gringo or need a visa.

            Go fucking kill yourself you little xenophobic piece of shit.

    • @ElGuapo While I am also a champion of the melting pot, as much as anyone else, I have to disagree. I guess I have more of a leeway. Then agai nit seems like you’ve had issues with some of the more annoying Cuban-American expats.

      But the way I look at it is this. I can tolerate people arriving- legally of course- as either Immigrants or Expatriates. The former become American, the latter become Resident Aliens.

      All of what you say fits for the former. But I do think there is scope for expatriates. Especially under this kind of pressure. But in regards to totalitarian hell-states like Russia, Iran, or Cuba and Venezuela now I think it’s safe to say that if one immigrates, it’s to make America a home. If one comes as an Expat, it’s to make America a temporary refuge.

      I mean, think about it. Is it so terrible if a Belgian Polish pilot that just barely snuck through Romania or Hungary ahead of Joe and Dolph fled to the US or UK without the intention to become British or American, but to try and escape the unjust nightmare that had befallen his people and his nation? Should everybody trap themselves in a room with a monster? And thus weakening the ability to work abroad to help your nation?

      Now, of course there is some overlap. Most of the Poles that fled West had to deal with the indignity of seeing Poland fall under the Hammer and Sickle ,and since they didn’t want to live under that kind of regime they committed themselves to living in their adopted homelands. And for others even after victory had come nad the old country was free, they had spent so long living abroad or decided it was too great a bother or fell in love with the new land and stayed there.

      I think the problem isn’t with Expats still intending to return to Venezuela; it’s what is being done (or NOT) to organize resistance to bring that happy time about. I have said it before and I wish it were not true, but I think Chavismo must be destroyed in blood. Its own.

      • The “Hyphen People” need to move forward and quit looking backwards. They HOWL and CATERWAUL endlessly about being marginalized and not taken seriously, when it is they who are foisting it upon themselves.

        Example. I have a young man working from me. He is from Somalia. A hard worker and a nice guy. Some cultural stuff still going on with him, but an OK kid. This employee is a gem, and I need 5 more just like him. I asked him if he had some Somali buddies who wanted to learn a trade (cabinetry or wood timberframe construction) He said, “No… they aren’t like me.” Apparently, these buddies are content to chew on khat all day long and break into cars at night. Which is exactly how these kids spend their days in Somalia.

        This employee is an American. His buddies are Somali-American.

        Another example. My expat wife and her family help host an annual picnic at a local park (I mentioned this in another post). When we first attended back in 1989, it was a small affair with a few expats wearing Colombia futbol shirts or Venezuela beisbol shirts. Fast forward 30 years, and the only tricolor anything you see is the two flags welcoming newcomers (so that they know they are in the right place) No more Colombia or Venezuela shirts… everyone is wearing regular clothes, and the kids (now adults) have their own kids who are wearing Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or New York Yankees/Boston Red Sox shirts. They love to talk shit about Chavismo and “the old days”, but largely everyone is just enjoying the old culture with some new friends for an afternoon. It is an awesome time.

        The point is, they get in their cars and go home to their suburban, boring middle America lifestyle where they pay their bills, yell at their dog for shitting on the rug and bitch about politics in America. Just like the rest of the un-hyphenated America.

        They don’t define themselves by where they were from, but by where they are and where they are going.

  5. Taking your daughter to the local mullahs to get her clitoris wacked off with a box cutter doesn’t seem American to me. But then I am an Old White Guy struggling with all this Diversity, Tolerance, and Multiculturism, so what do I know.

    • No… it isn’t the mullahs, because it isn’t in Islam anywhere else on the planet. If it was, the Saudi Wahhabist’s would be all over it, because their mutaween (religious police) just love that kind of shit. Genital mutilation of young girls is a cultural thing from the Horn of Africa.

      It is the old crone with the rusty razor blade that had hers severed the same way when she was 12 and then got married off to some 60 year old dude with rotting teeth in Somalia, so its only “fair” that she gets to promulgate the cultural beauty of Somalia. Minnesota has a HUGE Somalian population, and has gone to great lengths to inform parents of young girls that if their daughters are found mutilated, they will go to prison.

      Some of us Old White Guys have a connection to Venezuela. I wonder what Canucky’s connection is? Perhaps he found it on a map of “Marxist Paradises” and thought he should chime in?

      • El Guapo,
        Not just the Horn of Africa. FGM is extensive in Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia (as well as Somalia and Djibouti). It is also extensive in muslim communities in West Africa, especially Guinea, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Mauritania, Mali and Burkina Faso. Outside of Africa, places where the majority of muslim women undergo FGM include Iraqi Kurdistan, Malaysia and Indonesia. Nobody truly knows the full extent of the practice especially in countries where it is illegal but still extensive.

        • Maybe we shouldn’t call it FGM as that is being insensitive to the vast number of cultures where it is practiced. I mean, who are we to judge what is so common? Perhaps we could call it Female Circumcision, or maybe just, “Clitorectomy.”

          The above is my attempt at sarcasm, but I hope some will get the point.

        • I haven’t heard of it outside of Africa. My daughter (Sudanese) was adopted long before she would have become of age for such things. I also have Muslim friends and relatives, who haven’t heard of such a thing. While “honor killings” are rife in the Middle East, they are mostly unheard of in areas like Bangladesh and Indonesia.

          The mutilation is practiced by both Animists and Islamists in Somalia. The reason I think it is cultural and not religious is that the Saudi Wahhabists are fanatical in their hatred of all things female. If THEY could cut off a woman’s genitalia and get away with it, they would be all over that like a fat kid on a cupcake.

          • As far as I can tell, the Wahhabis on this issue subscribe to the “orthodox Sunni” view. Your daughter is very lucky – Sudan is mostly Malikite.
            There seem to be three main points of controversy on this issue in the interpretation of the Quran between the various Islamic religions.

            1. What is meant by “khitan” when applied to females?
            2. Is it done to increase female sexual pleasure or to reduce libido?
            3. Is it just permissible, or is it desirable or is it obligatory?

            The orthodox Sunni view is that khitan refers to removing part of the labia minora with a light cut with the intention of improving sexual enjoyment for the woman, and that it is permissible but not obligatory.

            However, some Islamic sects, including Sunni sects, interpret khitan to be female circumcision (removal of the prepuce or clitoral hood) to enhance sexual enjoyment (and, they often argue, to improve hygiene). Other sects, believe it refers to full or partial clitorectomy with the primary aim of reducing female libido. Khitan is obligatory for Shafii muslims in Malaysia, but only highly recommended for Shafii in Indonesia and for Malakites in Africa, according to their religious councils. Wherever it is widely practiced, it becomes obligatory from a cultural perspective for a girl to be marriagable.
            The intellectual conversations and justifications of Islamic jurists is remote and removed from the barbarity of the practice in reality. From WHO reports, the “surgery” is usually carried out by people with no medical training, and is often done with a box-cutter, thorns, a piece of glass or even a scalpel fashioned from the lid of a tin-can.

      • Does having some toothless old hag with a rusty razor cutting your daughters clitoris and labias off on a flat rock in a barren field, then sewing it back together to make it near inaccessible (except to the “lucky 60 year old groom!) for even the expulsion of a monthly menses sound legit to you? It isn’t done for the females benefit. It is done for the benefit of her lucky future groom who doesn’t have to worry about his wife having a libido and fucking other men.

        The male circumcision is equivalent to removing the clitoral hood from a female. I suppose if infant females had the problem of phimosis like many males did, the removal of said “hood” would be far more common. Analogies being analogies… the embryological equivalent of the genital mutilation that Somali women endure would mean that, on the male, the entire end of the glans penis (clitoris) be removed, plus all of the scrotum (labia majora). Leaving the testicles exposed until sewn over a week later with whatever skin was left available.

        Hows that?

        • “…..the embryological equivalent of the genital mutilation that Somali women endure would mean that, on the male, the entire end of the glans penis (clitoris) be removed, plus all of the scrotum (labia majora). Leaving the testicles exposed until sewn over a week later with whatever skin was left available.”

          —————————

          I think Canucklehead had that procedure done.

          Performed by the Lakotah.

  6. I fully support legal immigration into the US. The idea of the US being a melting pot where the best aspects of many cultures enrich our society for the benefit of everyone is a tradition that should continue.
    The one thing that I believe is important is that we have English as our official language. The inability to communicate with others is a strong barrier that isolates people and feeds the suspicions and misunderstandings of prejudice.
    My last trip to South Beach I noticed how few people were speaking English. It is detrimental to society when people are unable to communicate. Accommodating people that do not speak English removes the incentive to learn English. How many other countries provide government support for so many people that do not speak the language that the majority of the society speaks?
    I was recently in a hospital in Rochester NY. There is a poster hanging in the hospital that shows the translation services available for patients and families. There must be 40 different languages that the hospital has translators available to speak. It is understandable that a hospital needs to be able to effectively communicate with patients and family members. This is just one example of the extra burden put on businesses and taxpayers throughout the country.

    • I remember being in south Florida about 10 years ago, flying in/out of MIA. I saw a sign north of Fort Lauderdale saying, “Will the last English speaking person leaving Miami please bring the American flag with them?” I thought it was ironic, solely because while leaving MIA to get to the rental car, I had asked a worker in MIA a question in English, he looked at me and said, “Habla español”. To which my fluently speaking and sharp tongued Venezuelan bride of many years lowered the boom on this ass-hat in his mother tongue. (decorum prohibits me from repeating what she said, but be assured he got the message)

      I don’t mind that anyone speaks whatever they want to each other. But English is the universal language of commerce. I’m pretty good at Spanish only because I thought it was important for me to learn the language (wife and her close family, lots of sub contractors have Spanish speaking employees). Plus, we travel all over Central and South America. An honest effort, I think, promotes understanding between cultures. I get a lot more smiles from the locals when they get my best effort.

      • I was in a Rite-Aid in South Beach looking for sunburn lotion for my daughter.
        I asked an employee that was wearing a Rite-Aid vest where to find it. He shrugged and said something in Spanish. Apparently he did not speak English.

  7. “Venezuelan-owned Bocas House, serving Venezuelan-Peruvian cuisine and known for their insane milkshakes, is changing the food game here in Miami. The brains behind Bocas are César González —former nightclub owner in his native San Cristóbal—, and Levin De Grazia, hailing from a family of successful restaurateurs.”

    Those are the guys spreading the legend that they started with 100$ and found success.
    A lot of disguised red money going around.

    • Correct. Tiraditos already floundered and taken over by enchufados. Bocas will not make it long run IMO. And they must have stuffed the NT ballot IMO

      To the author: Mami, Doral esta llena de enchufados y infiltrados. Sebin operates in Doral!

      Former Mayor Luigi Boria got no respect from his peers. Mayor Bermudez still cleaning Luigi’s mess

  8. A bunch of Venezuelans together doing Venezuelans things, probably half the people there got red ties on the low, i think i heard somewhere even Tren de Aragua Madame Rosita lives there, considering i left the country to get away from not only this dictatorship but Venezuelans and their bullshit sounds like a good place to add at my avoid at all cost list

    • I feel the same. I didn’t leave Venezuela only to land in a satellite colony built by people afraid of change.

  9. Last time I went to the US I had to book a hotel near the MIA airport for one day only, and at the room I picked up one of those hotel notepads to write something, and below there was the Hotel’s address, “something road, number, DORAL”
    Goosebumps! I’ve just screamed, “OH MY GOD, WE ARE IN DORAL!”.
    My wife replied: “What is Doral?”
    “It’s a place that receives the Venezuelans escaping communism! We are here! Some sort of Venezuelan Israel.”

    • I don’t read any hate for Doral. And I don’t see any real animosity towards any US citizen who happens to have been born in Venezuela.

      But you do have a point about China-Town. And it is noteworthy how easily the Chinese assimilate in the US yet maintain a cultural identity. My PCP is Dr. Chin and she is the best doc I have ever had.

      Now, back to those Venezuelans. If we could just convince them to stop voting the straight Democrat ticket….

    • Sandra, it’s less “hate” and more “disdain”.

      I didn’t leave Venezuela on my own timetable: My US citizen wife and I left when she was harassed by ONIDEX, and we realized the transition from “stupid government” to “cruel autocracy” was accelerating. We HAD to leave.

      She gave me the choice to settle in Florida, so I would have an expat community to help me cope with the upheaval. I said no, and we moved near her folks, up in Massachusetts. Later that first year, we moved to Pittsburgh for a job (I acknowledge I was very lucky to be able to work in my field right away, and with a salary that provided for both of us, and I know not every expat is that lucky).

      It was an adjustment, for sure. But as time went on and I settled into the rhythm of life in the US, I realized I didn’t really miss Venezuela, the lax attitude towards just about everything. The pervasive everyday corruption we call maranas. The cronyism, that feeling of being unable to attain or do something because you didn’t make the right friends or kiss the right ass or didn’t pay off the right functionary. And most of all, the entitled, unearned arrogance that comes from being raised in a society that to this day thinks it lives in the greatest country on Earth. I miss my family, but little else.

      So when I think about living in a mini-Venezuela populated by people determined to recreate all aspects of it, I get chills. The bad kind. It’s not for me. And given what I just said, they won’t miss me, so it’s ok all around.

      • That soliloquy sounds like it came from my wife! She too misses her Venezuelan friends, but not Venezuela.

        As I mentioned previously, too many immigrants (all countries) want to be “hyphen” Americans and not Americans. I think that THEY think it gives them some sort of pass on behavior and thinking that isn’t necessarily virtuous. An excuse to not behave.

        My wife has plenty of friends here in America. Some are from Venezuela. Some are immigrants from elsewhere. Most are several generations removed from the immigration experience. Not once have I heard her call herself a Venezuelan-American. She proudly states that she WAS from Venezuela, but now she is just a American “with a funny accent”. (When people ask her where she is from, she says, “Bahston” or “New Yowrk Ceety”… that’s her attempt at humor!) Each year, the Colombians and Venezuelans locally have a big picnic in a park, where they reconnect and talk smart for an afternoon. And eat and drink and eat… and then they drink and drink and drink and the picnic ends up going to someones house and the party goes on until 4am…

        Anyway, she loves it here and America is better for having her and her family here.

  10. About Doral and this article: Doralzuela is home to the U.S. Southern Command, the gringos responsible for invading Bananazuela. Dora’s Mayor Bermudez, founded the city and saved it from the Venezuelan Mayor Luigi Bora, whose tenure was a disaster, turning City Hall into a Venezuelan family run style business.

    Doral is among the worst cities in South Florida. Traffic is a primary cause.

    Only in Doral do people (Venezuelans) plunk USD$1M+ for a zero lot house next to the county landfill, county incinerators, and two police shooting ranges.

    Venezuelans have ruined this city!

  11. BTW, the arepa joint pictured closed.

    Bocas House (which probably stuffed the New Times ballot) cannot open its 58th street location for reasons unknown.

    Most of the Venezuelan joints are overpriced and poor quality. Venezuelan food has to compete and a Pepito has competition from Cuban sandwiches. Tequeños are meh because of the cheese and cachitos cannot compete with empanadas. Arepas are overpriced….take your pick.

  12. I think the author buys into a lot of the hype “fastest growing,” “best school” etc.

    The author may need to get out of Doral some more! Because Doral has nothng to offer compared to rest of SoFla. Except it’s businesses

  13. Most of the Venezuelans who moved to Doral come from its traditional middle class and are heavily americanized , they come from families which traditionally sent their children to study in the US , speak fluent english and are as happy about celebrating thanksgiving and the 4th of july as any regular american , there are also many colombians , probably as many as there are Venezuelans …….., Doral is crammed full with hispanic people of different nationalities and curiously enough quite a few indians and orientals . The Venezuelan veneer though present is really rather thin , not like your little haitis or chinatowns …….., Probably not that different from Weston ……which is the other area where Venezuelans tend to congregate , the place is middle class , with many businessmen and professionals …..Unlike Caracas where inmigrant Italians , Portuguese , Spaniards each formed their own clubs where they met and lived social lives centered on their own communities , Doral and Weston lack any club which caters to Venezuelans desire to meet with their own ….The Arepazo is a gas station with a rater small attached rustic food place , Venezuelans might meet there ocassionally but it is no hub of local Venezuelans activity …….Doral has a Venezuelan touch but it is hardly a piece of Venezuela , people there seem more intent on showing off how americanized they have become than people from other communities…..!!

    • I imagine Doral has its nicer areas and its not so nice areas, just like every other city on the planet. I haven’t ever been to Doral (the in-laws in Florida don’t live there), but have been to the various ethnic enclaves in Dade County where the residents spend more time being perpetually outraged ex-Cubans than they do being Americans.

      With the exception of one family group (the angry Marxist/Leninist fucked-up branch), every single member of my wife’s family that has relocated (Spain, Panama, US) has grabbed a hold of their new opportunity and embraced the new life they have been offered in their new homeland. They never called themselves Spanish-Venezuelans when they fled Fascism in the 1940’s… they became Venezuelans.

      I don’t know why that concept is so hard for so many to grasp. I think many groups use the hyphen as an excuse for their failures… past, present and future. Which is a shame.

  14. Bill, disagree with “most” and “heavily

    Venezuelans 20%+ far outnumber Colombians in Doral

    Venezuelans have put their stamp on Doral and South Florida, you just don’t see it but it’s there starting with real estate.

    Doral does not lack a club, we have the f***ing Trump National full of Venezuelans.

    What you dont see are badge wearing chavistas. Town is full of them but they are covert. Enchufados is one term for them. Since South Fla is large, we can go forever without running into them.

    The enchufados have political.ambitions. Luigi Boria is their inspiration. Enchufados have their eyes on political seats in Dade and Broward.

  15. The lower income level venezuelans who make mistake of residing in Doral, may find themselves two families sharing two bedroom apt. Males do a lot of Uber

    As with all newcomers, these immigrants are taken advantage of. Low wages, long hours, no benefits compounded by one of the highest rentals in the nation.

    Plenty of enchufados living in half mllion plus homes but not working. They are here under phony asylum requests. Visa overstays common.

    Many businesses are no brainers like buying and selling cars.

    Crime skyrocketing as criminals in Miami aware of all the nice cars in Doral…true!

  16. Tidbit: did you know that under Doral ex-Mayor Luigi Bora, Doral was voted best city to retire in America by Fortune magazine? Don’t believe the hype.

    Doral is a business and commerce hub. Residences are an afterthought

    • Did you know that magazines rate cities by how many advertising dollars they receive from them?

      Those ratings are total nonsense.

  17. Bill, in 2017 the doral isles club became a major enchufado gathering place with musicians like oscar de leon playing weekly.

    That ran its course because like most everything chavista/enchufado, it’s at the expense of someone else.

    That is the only big time covert enchufado thing that kinda took off due to food, alcohol and subsidized (free) live music

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