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Doral mayor declares himself 'maximum authority' of exiled Venezuelans


Things got a little awkward after Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez wrapped up her remarks Monday at the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami, and one by one, politicians took turns at the microphone to honor her.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, speaking broken Spanish, presented Sánchez, who will be traveling back to Cuba, with the quite large American flag that flew above the U.S. Capitol when she visited Washington. Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado called his city "la gusanera" -- the wormhole -- referring to anti-Communists who left Cuba after Fidel Castro's revolution.

Then came Doral Mayor Luigi Boria, who gave Sánchez the key to his city and made the afternoon's oddest declaration.

"I'd like to give you the key, not only as the maximum authority of the city, but also as the maximum authority of Venezuelans in exile," he said.

His apparent qualifications for that lofty, self-imposed title: Boria is the first Venezuelan-born mayor in the state, and his city, nicknamed Doralzuela, is home to the largest number of Venezuelans in South Florida.

He is also an evangelical Christian and ordained minister at Alpha and Omega, a southwest Miami-Dade megachurch. That could explain why Boria also presented Sánchez with a Bible -- despite her saying moments earlier that she is agnostic.

"It's the most read book in the world," Boria said. "Perhaps you'll have time to read it."