Diego Arria

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Diego Arria
President of the United Nations Security Council
In office
1 March 1992 – 31 March 1992
Permanent Representative of Venezuela in the United Nations
In office
11 March 1991 – August 1993
President Carlos Andrés Pérez
Succeeded by Adolfo Raul Taylhardat
Minister of Information and Tourism
In office
February 1977[1] – 17 March 1978[1]
President Carlos Andrés Pérez
Succeeded by Celestino Armas
Governor of Caracas, Capital District
In office
15 March 1974[2] – February 1977[3]
President Carlos Andrés Pérez
Preceded by Guillermo Alvarez Bajarez[4]
Succeeded by Manuel Montilla Caceres[4]
President of the Corporación Nacional de Hotelería y Turismo (CONAHOTU)
In office
12 March 1969 – 2 February 1974
President Rafael Caldera
Personal details
Born (1938-10-08) 8 October 1938 (age 78)
Caracas, Venezuela
Nationality  Venezuela
Relations Divorced 2012
Alma mater University of Michigan
Religion Catholic

Diego Enrique Arria Salicetti (born 8 October 1938 - Caracas, Venezuela[5]), is a Venezuelan politician, diplomat, former Venezuelan Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations (1991–1993) and President of the Security Council (March 1992). He was Governor of the Federal District of Caracas in the mid-1970s. Other positions have included Diplomatic Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and Visiting Scholar at Columbia University.[6] Arria was also a critic of former President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez,[7] and denounced him at the International Criminal Court at the Hague for crimes against humanity. Chávez died before the court judged his case.


Arria was schooled partly in Caracas and partly at the Augusta Military Academy at Fort Defiance, Virginia. He obtained a degree in economics and political science from the University of Michigan.[8] Arria worked for the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. until he returned to Venezuela in 1969, initially as Director of Tourism in Rafael Caldera's Ministry of Development, and later as president of the CONAHOTU (National Corporation of Hotels and Tourism),[9] and president of Venezuelan Tourism Corporation.

Political career[edit]

Arria resigned as head of Venezuela Tourism Corporation to create the political movement Causa Común (Common Cause) that later supported the presidential candidacy of Carlos Andrés Pérez (CAP). In 1973, Arria was elected member of the National Congress, representing the state of Miranda. Shortly after CAP was elected in March 1974, he appointed Arria Governor of the Federal District (Caracas),[2] at a time when this was one of the most important presidential appointments.[10] In 1976 when he was Governor of the Federal District he went to Chile to negotiate with President Pinochet the release of his friend Orlando Letelier, his colleague at the Inter American Development Bank in D.C. Pinochet released Letelier, but soon after, Letelier was murdered with a car bomb in Washington D.C by Pinochet's order.[11] Arria intervened again by bringing Leterlier's body to be buried in Caracas, where he remained until the end of Pinochet's rule. He subsequently moved from the governorship to become Minister of Information and Tourism in February 1977.[1][3][12] He resigned on 17 March 1978, in order to stand as an independent candidate in the Venezuelan presidential election, 1978.[1] As part of his campaign he published two books: "Primero La Gente" ("The People First") and "Dedicación a una Causa" ("Dedication to a Cause").

In 2012 Arria was an independent candidate for the presidential nomination of the Coalition for Democratic Unity for the Venezuelan presidential election, 2012. Primary elections were held on February 12, 2012, with Henrique Capriles Radonski winning the nomination.

United Nations[edit]

Arria was Venezuelan Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations from 1991 to 1993,[13][14] and was President of the Security Council (March 1992),[15] during Venezuela's membership of the Security Council. Arria later became Special Advisor to Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN,[6] He initiated the eponymous 'Arria formula'[16] a very informal consultation process which affords members of the Security Council the opportunity to hear persons in a confidential, informal setting. These meetings are presided over by a member of the Council as service facilitator for the discussion and not by the President of the Council. Arria has described this formula as a way of ensuring that members 'have to be honest'.[17] He was chairman during the massacres at Srebrenica. After visiting the enclave he warned of its impending doom and predicted the massacres saying it was "slow motion Genocide" and the besieged enclave itself as "a concentration camp policed by UNPROFOR".[18]


Other positions have included Diplomatic Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and Visiting Scholar at Columbia University.[6] He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of the Americas[19] and of Freedom Now,[20] and of the Board of Advisors of Inter-American Dialogue.[21] He has been a Director at The Columbus Group, and is currently the Chairman of the Advisory Board at Athelera LLC as well as a Member of the Board of Advisors at VMS Associates, LLC.[22]

In November 2011, Arria filed charges for crimes against humanity against Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.[7]

Ranch expropriation[edit]

La Carolina taken by Diego Arria one month before the expropriation, according to Arria.

On April 30, 2010, Arria's ranch "La Carolina" in Yaracuy State was taken over by the Venezuelan government. Minister of Agriculture Elias Jaua "declared that lawyers and historians working for the National Lands Institute (INTI) ha[d] not been able to find continuity of ownership deeds in the national register and therefore the lands are "fallow" and return to the State".[23] According to government officials the ranch was unproductive and was a case of idle lands; according to Arria, the farm had 300 cattle and 90% of it was under some form of agricultural development.[24] When becoming aware of the expropriation threat Dr. Arria took photos of the farm and the cattle and posted them on the Internet, including the one used to illustrate this paragraph. Correo del Orinoco, a state-owned newspaper, reporting their claims that Arria's declarations about expropriation and loot by the Ministry of Agriculture are "subversive and tend to urge the homicide of Hugo Chavez".[25] According to Arria, the expropriation was a reaction to Arria's participation in the Oslo Freedom Forum, where he stated that Chavez will have to face International Justice one day for his "crimes" against the Venezuelan people.[26] He has since described the ranch's seizure as 'pillaging and ransacking'.[17]

False accusations[edit]

Diego Arria and several other opposition figures were the victims of an attempt by the Venezuelan government to falsely accuse them of a fabricated plot. A top Venezuelan government official, Jorge Rodriguez, alleged he had uncovered emails between the accused that proved their guilt,[27][28][29] resulting in Venezuela's attorney general Luisa Ortega Díaz subpoenaing Arria as a witness, along with María Corina Machado, Pedro Burelli, and Ricardo Koesling,[30] and a week later on June 11, warrants were issued for their arrest.[31] However, the defendants hired Kivu, a U.S.-based cybersecurity company, with Kivu performing an analysis of the alleged emails covered in the Venezuelan government's report, stating that there was "no evidence of the existence of any emails between Pedro Burelli's Google email accounts and the alleged recipients", that the alleged emails had "many indications of user manipulation", and that "Venezuelan officials used forged emails to accuse government adversaries of plotting to kill President Nicolas Maduro".[32][33][34][35]


  1. ^ a b c d Latin America political report, Volume 12, Latin American Newsletters Ltd., 1978, p89
  2. ^ a b Latin America 1974, Facts on File, p164
  3. ^ a b Howard Rae Penniman (1980), Venezuela at the polls: the National elections of 1978, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, p159
  4. ^ a b David J. Myers, Henry A. Dietz (2002), Capital city politics in Latin America: democratization and empowerment, Lynne Rienner Publishers, p113
  5. ^ el-nacional.com, Diego Arria, accessed 20 May 2012
  6. ^ a b c http://europeancourier.org/DiegoArria.htm
  7. ^ a b "Diego Arria files complaint against President Chávez at The Hague". El Universal. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  8. ^ (Spanish) noticias24.com, 11 February 2012, Perfil de Diego Arria: Un hombre con amplia experiencia y una propuesta radical
  9. ^ Judith Ewell (1984), Venezuela: A Century of Change, C. Hurst & Co, p178
  10. ^ "the tasks given to federal district governors between 1945 and the 1970s, and the kinds of individuals appointed to this office, suggest that a president viewed naming the federal district governor to be one of his three or four most important appointments." - Steve Ellner, David J. Myers, "Caracas: incomplete Empowerment amid Geographical Feudalism", p103, in David J. Myers, Henry A. Dietz (2002), Capital city politics in Latin America: democratization and empowerment, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002
  11. ^ http://www.ideaspublicas.org/2006/09/28/carta-a-los-chilenos/
  12. ^ http://www.hks.harvard.edu/cchrp/initiatives/latin_america/events/2010/month03/venezuela_08.php
  13. ^ http://www.worldforum.org/Commission-On-Globalisation/leadership/bios/bio_arria.htm
  14. ^ adolfotaylhardat.net, Adolfo Raul Taylhardat - Curriculum Vitae
  15. ^ United Nations, Presidents of the Security Council : 1990-1999
  16. ^ http://dspace.cigilibrary.org/jspui/bitstream/123456789/18545/1/The%20Arria%20Formula.pdf?1
  17. ^ a b http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/international/0009693-interview-diego-arria.html
  18. ^ The Biggest Cover-Up in UN History - International Justice - Global Policy Forum
  19. ^ Institute of the Americas, Board of Directors, accessed 20 May 2012
  20. ^ Freedom Now, Board of Advisors, accessed 20 May 2012
  21. ^ Inter-American Dialogue, Board of Advisors, accessed 20 May 2012]
  22. ^ BusinessWeek.com, Diego E. Arria, accessed 20 May 2012
  23. ^ Vheadline.com, 13 May 2010, It's final: Arria farm declared social property after failure to trace title deeds
  24. ^ (Spanish) El Universal, 2 May 2010, Prohíben a propietarios ingresar a finca La Carolina
  25. ^ (Spanish) Correo del Orinoco, 10 May 2010, Declaraciones de Diego Arria son subversivas e instan al magnicidio
  26. ^ (Spanish), elnuevodiario.com.do, 11 May 2010, "Ex embajador de Venezuela dice Chávez le quitó finca por venganza política"
  27. ^ "Burelli difundió correo que "utilizó el Sebin para falsificar prueba"". El Universal. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  28. ^ "JUDICIAL: dictan orden de captura a Burelli, Arria y Koesling". Reportero 24. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  29. ^ "Arria niega ser autor de los correos por los que se le acusa de conspirar". El Universal. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  30. ^ de la Rosa, Alicia (4 June 2014). "Fiscalía libró órdenes de comparecencia para Burelli, Machado y Arria". El Universal. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  31. ^ "Ordenan captura de Diego Arria y otros dos opositores venezolanos". El Nuevo Herald. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  32. ^ "Evidence in English | Evidencia en Castellano". Scribd. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  33. ^ "Expert Says Emails Used to Accuse Maduro Opponents of Assassination Plot Are Fake". The Wall Street Journal. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  34. ^ "Pedro Burelli presenta pruebas forenses de la presunta falsificación de correos". CNN. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  35. ^ "Venezuela accused of forging Maduro assassination plot evidence". Reuters. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.