RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - "In Venezuela one lives a genuine freedom."

With this sentence, the Spanish newspaper El País began its 1976 article on the thousands of immigrants from dictatorial regimes in South America, and even from Spain itself, who were seeking a safe haven in Venezuela to prosper.

It was also around that time that Venezuelans became known in Miami as the "da-me dos" (give me two), in a joke about how cheap the products seemed in . . .

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