Among Latin American dictators that South Florida exiles love to hate, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez was a distant second to Cuba's Fidel Castro.
But Chavez beat his ideological comrade Castro to the grave, and the Venezuelan president's death from cancer -- announced today -- will surely be felt throughout our region.
Although Chavez was democratically elected, his lengthy hold on power and his populist socialist-styled regime drove a lot of Venezuelans -- and their money -- to our shores. Some will surely be celebrating his demise tonight, but the long-term future and stability of the oil-rich country remains to be seen.
There are sizable Venezuelan enclaves in Weston and Doral, and the reaction so far has been muted. Certainly nothing like the fireworks-and-cartwheels celebrations that are anticipated when Fidel dies.
Will this mean more Venezuelans might be coming this way? Or will more ex-pats will eventually head from South Florida back to South America?
Feel free to chime in with your thoughts -- and what Chavez's death means to you, if anything.