Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso

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Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo
Minister of Development of Venezuela
In office
20 October 1945 – 24 November 1948
President Rómulo Betancourt
Rómulo Gallegos
Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Venezuela
In office
13 February 1959 – 23 January 1963
President Rómulo Betancourt
Succeeded by Arturo Hernández Grisanti
Personal details
Born (1903-12-13)13 December 1903
Caracas, Venezuela
Died 3 September 1979(1979-09-03) (aged 75)
Washington D.C., USA
Spouse(s) Alicia Castillo
Signature

Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo (13 December 1903 – 3 September 1979), was a prominent Venezuelan diplomat, politician and lawyer primarily responsible for the inception and creation of OPEC.

Life and career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Pérez Alfonzo helped found the political party Democratic Action (AD; Acción Democrática). As Minister of Development during the first democratic government of Venezuela, the short-lived administration of Rómulo Betancourt (1947–1948), was responsible for increasing oil revenues for the country by raising taxes through what later became known worldwide as the 50/50 formula.

With the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Rómulo Gallegos by the military in November 1948, Perez Alfonzo sought political asylum in the United States after spending 9 months in jail. He moved to Mexico for financial reasons, where he resided until the return of democracy in 1958, when the democratically elected President Rómulo Betancourt called him back to government service to finish the job he had begun under the presidency of Gallegos, this time as Minister of Energy. During the years he spent in Washington he studied the activities of the Texas Railroad Commission (TRC), which served to reinforce his ideas about creating OPEC, further developing his thoughts about conservation and stabilization of petroleum production and the defense of oil prices.

Service under Betancourt government[edit]

As Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons during the second democratic government of Venezuela, the administration of Rómulo Betancourt (1959–1964), was responsible for the creation of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) for the purpose of rationalizing and thereby increasing oil prices in the world market. Triggered by a 1960 law instituted by American President Dwight Eisenhower that forced quotas for Venezuelan oil and favored Canada and Mexico's oil industries, Betancourt reacted seeking an alliance with oil producing Arab nations as a pre-emptive strategy to protect the continuous autonomy and profitability of Venezuela's oil, establishing a strong link between the South American nation and the Middle East region that survives to this day. His extensive notes of the TRC methods for regulation of production to maximise recovery served him well both in Venezuela and later when he took them translated into Arabic to El Cairo meeting that served as launching platform for OPEC and where Wanda Jablonski introduced him to then minister of petroleum of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Tariki, co-founder of OPEC.[1]

Death[edit]

Pérez Alfonzo died in Washington, D.C. at the Georgetown University Hospital on 3 September 1979, having succumbed to pancreatic cancer. He was 76 years old.

Famous quote[edit]

Ten years from now, twenty years from now, you will see: oil will bring us ruin… Oil is the Devil's excrement.[2]

Books[edit]

  • Hundiéndonos en el excremento del diablo, Caracas: Editorial Lisbona, 1976.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marius Vassiliou (2 March 2009). Historical Dictionary of the Petroleum Industry. Scarecrow Press. p. 364. ISBN 978-0-8108-6288-3. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Useem, Jerry (3 February 2003). "'The Devil's Excrement'". Fortune. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  • (Spanish) Fundación Polar (1997), Diccionario de Historia de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela