MIAMI (CBS4)– A growing number of Venezuelans are fleeing to the United States and seeking political asylum.
About 4,500 Venezuelans received asylum between 2000 and 2010, five times more than occurred during the previous decade, according to the Associated Press.
Most are young professionals and business leaders who feel threatened by President Hugo Chavez’s socialist-oriented government.
One man who organized parties said he was driving in Caracas in 2007 when two men from the state security service pulled him over, called him a traitor to Chavez and put a gun to his head. He soon moved to Miami and received asylum.
The Venezuelan embassy in Washington had no comment on the trend.
(© 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)