The square root of Latin America | USA elections

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The facade of the Dolphin Mall, in Miami, in a file image.Sebastian Ballestas / Getty

It is not the first time that the reporter leaves the house. He has already made some trips and thinks he has a good sense of direction. But this is too big, too loud, and there is no way to find the correct exit. This is the It him mall Dolphin, with almost 250 large commercial establishments inside. The Dolphin is located in the Miami municipality of Doral, also known as “Doralzuela”, on the edge of the famous Everglades or “eternal swamps”. You hardly hear anything other than Spanish. East mall it is, so to speak, the essence, the square root of Latin America.

The number of Venezuelans in South Florida has grown at breakneck speed. 20 years ago they were less than 90,000. Now, in the absence of an updated census, it is estimated that in Miami there are about 300,000, of which about 50,000 can participate in the presidential elections. Most of them prefer Donald Trump, according to the polls, although there is everything: “Trump does nothing more than put problems for immigrants, Joe Biden is better,” argues Jesús, a client of the Dolphin who lives in Doral. Jesús owns a couple of limousines for private transportation and says he earns about $ 4,000 a month (now, with the pandemic, less) than, by supporting a wife and three children, he manages to save a thousand.

There are many Venezuelan clients. And also employees. Like Alejandra, a young woman who came to Doral two years ago, along with her father and mother. Alejandra works in a toy store (orange zone sponsored by Pepsi, level one) in which all the products (electric cars, light figures, unidentifiable devices) are in operation. The noise is hellish and she spends 10 hours here every day but says she doesn't care. He likes to live in the United States. When asked what fault he finds in his new city, he thinks for a couple of seconds and replies: "There are too many Venezuelans."

Do not believe that Doral is a populous city where reggaeton sounds at full blast. Rather the opposite: four- or five-story apartment blocks, wide avenues, identical house developments with lawns in front and barbecue behind, silence, cleanliness and a life based on the car. A pedestrian here is a castaway. In the squares, the small groups of shops, you will find any Venezuelan product that one can imagine. The brands are the same as in Caracas (Toronto, Susy, Frescolita, Marilú, etc.). The only difference is in the prices: they are cheaper. "Since they were dollarized, prices in Venezuela have been crazy," says Yanel, a restocker from the Sedano supermarket who arrived last year with one of his brothers.

Venezuelans constitute a minority within this minority equation that makes up Miami. Cubans are still ten times more numerous. There are also many more Haitians. But in this Latin American square root that is continually multiplying by itself, a handful of votes could end up being decisive in the electoral count. A survey by the University of North Florida indicates that two-thirds of Venezuelan immigrants are with Trump, and a third with Biden. Among those under 35, however, things are almost even.

Let's go back to the labyrinthine Dolphin. They will say that finding the way out is easy, and they will be right. It is also easy to find the exit from the Atlanta airport (almost 2,000 hectares in size): the point is that, as in the Atlanta airport, if you leave through the wrong terminal, it is so far from your parking lot that you need to rent a car to get to your car. Luckily, the Dolphin employees, young and not very well paid (less than $ 2,000 gross per month for 12 hours a day – about 1,700 euros), show kindness to the lost reporter.

Already more or less oriented, the reporter can fixate on the motley human landscape. What must this be like a weekend before the pandemic? An Argentine tourist literally drags a car with a mountain of Gap and Levi's clothes. A Guatemalan gentleman pays for his purchases in cash and in an exact way, counting coins. When the reporter finally finds his parking lot, he comes across a large multi-colored lizard and two fat girls who enter Dolphin shouting, literally, "Let's burst the card."

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