Luis Parra

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Luis Parra
Luis Parra.png
President of the National Assembly of Venezuela
Assumed office
5 January 2020
Disputed with Juan Guaidó
Preceded byJuan Guaidó
Personal details
Born
Luis Eduardo Parra Rivero

(1978-07-07) 7 July 1978 (age 41)
Independencia Municipality, Yaracuy, Venezuela
Political partyIndependent (2019–present)
Justice First (until 2019)

Luis Eduardo Parra Rivero (born 7 July 1978) is a Venezuelan politician who is in a dispute with Juan Guaidó over who is the President of the National Assembly of Venezuela based on a vote on 5 January 2020, which has international implications: Juan Guaidó's claim as acting President of Venezuela is based on being President of the National Assembly of Venezuela.[1][2]

Political career[edit]

CLAP affair[edit]

On 1 December, the website Armando.info published an investigation reporting that nine parliamentaries mediated in favor of two businessmen linked with the government. Parra was accused of being involved in corruption with the Local Committees for Supply and Production (CLAP) program of the Nicolás Maduro government.[3] Parra has denied the accusations.[3] After the investigation was published, the deputies Parra, José Brito, Conrado Pérez and José Gregorio Noriega were suspended and expelled from their parties Justice First and Popular Will.[4] Parra, Brito and Pérez objected to their expulsion and filed a case before Venezuela's Supreme Tribunal of Justice, in which they petitioned the court to have their party membership reinstated.[5][6]

Parliamentary crisis[edit]

On 5 January 2020, the 2020 Venezuelan National Assembly Delegated Committee election took place to determine who would be the President of the National Assembly.

On the morning of the election, Parra announced his candidacy to the presidency of the National Assembly by surprise, against the incumbent president Juan Guaidó.[7] Parra–who was previously barred from access to the legislative chambers–was granted access to the legislative palace while others of the opposition (to Maduro) were blocked at the entrance. Parra was joined by National Assembly deputies loyal to Maduro.[8] In a chaotic scene, a hand vote was hastily taken and Parra was declared president.[9] The opposition reported that quorum was not achieved and no votes were counted.[10] Police forces blocked the access to parliament to opposition members and media. A separate session was carried out outside parliament where 100 of the 167 deputies re-elected Juan Guaidó as president of the parliament.[10]

Parra told reporters 140 lawmakers were present in the session and that his candidacy was approved with 81 votes. Ruling party deputy Pedro Carreño told AFP that the vote took place with 150 deputies present and that Parra received the simple majority of 84 needed to win.[11] Nicolás Maduro recognized Parra as the new president of the National Assembly, saying that "there was a rebellion inside the National Assembly" and that "the National Assembly has made a decision".[12][13][14] Regarding the controversy of the opposition attempting to enter the Palacio Federal Legislativo, Maduro said "if the failed Guaidó did not want to enter it was because he did not have the votes", dismissing that Guaidó and his supporters were prevented from entering.[15] When reporters asked Parra for the official tally of votes–usually released the same day–he said that it "was not available" and there is not announced date for its release.[16]

Russia, one of Maduro's closest international allies has welcomed Parra's election. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the election contributes to the return of the intra-Venezuelan political struggle to the constitutional field that will find a peaceful exit to the ongoing crisis.[17] Opposition deputies denounced that Russia looked after supporting Parra to improve its businesses in Venezuela, including to increase the Russian shareholder participation in oil contracts and other mining consessions that need the approval of the National Assembly and that it would not have with Guaidó.[18]

The Episcopal Conference of Venezuela rejected Luis Parra claim to the presidency of the National Assembly being "contrary to all constitutional legality", according to its presidency.[19] Days later, Luis Parra accompanied by armed forces tried to meet the organization, but he was denied entry. Parra and his allies announced that they would come back with "more reinforcement".[20]

Sanctions by the United States[edit]

The United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned Parra and other seven individuals, "who, at the bidding of Maduro, attempted to block the democratic process in Venezuela,” according to US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin on 13 January 2020.[21] The sanctioned have their assets in the US frozen and are not allowed to do business with US financial markets nor with US citizens. The list also includes the other members of Parra's appointed board of directors: Franklyn Duarte, José Goyo Noriega and Negal Morales.[21]

Hours later, Maduro's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza published a statement saying that the sanctions imposed by the US Treasury against Parra and others seek to "interfere and undermine the proper functioning of democratic institutions, with the unusual intention to designate from Washington the authorities of the legislative power." The statement also argues that these tactics are "contrary to international law and undermine the stability, peace and self-determination of the Venezuelan people."[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cohen, Corina Pons and Luc (2020-01-06). "Venezuela's ruling Socialists seize congress, defiant opposition re-elects Guaido". U.S. Retrieved 2020-01-06.
  2. ^ "Two Venezuela lawmakers declare themselves Speaker". 2020-01-06. Retrieved 2020-01-06.
  3. ^ a b "¿Quién es el diputado Luis Parra?". La Patilla (in Spanish). 2020-01-05. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  4. ^ "Venezuela: denuncian a siete diputados de corrupción". Infobae. 20 December 2019. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  5. ^ "La disputa por el partido opositor Primero Justicia en Venezuela". www.aa.com.tr. Retrieved 2020-01-19.
  6. ^ diarioelvistazo (2020-01-17). "Luis Parra, José Brito y Conrado Pérez piden al TSJ su restitución en las filas de Primero Justicia". Diario El Vistazo (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-01-19.
  7. ^ Krygier, Rachelle; Faiola, Anthony (6 January 2020). "Venezuela's last democratic institution falls as Maduro attempts de facto takeover of National Assembly". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Vándalos accedieron a patadas hasta equipos de sonido de la AN para que Parra hablara (Video)". La Patilla (in Spanish). 2020-01-05. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  9. ^ "Golpe del régimen de Maduro: Bloqueó el ingreso de la oposición a la AN e instaló a Luis Parra como su presidente". La Patilla (in Spanish). 2020-01-05. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  10. ^ a b Sánchez, Fabiola (5 January 2020). "Guaidó blocked from congress as Venezuelan conflict deepens". Associated Press. Retrieved 2020-01-06.
  11. ^ "Guaido and rival Perra both declare selves speaker of Venezuelan parliament". France 24. 5 January 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Maduro reconoció a Luis Parra como "presidente" de la Asamblea Nacional". La Patilla (in Spanish). 2020-01-05. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  13. ^ "Nicolás Maduro: «Hubo una rebelión dentro de la Asamblea Nacional»" (in Spanish). El Pitazo. 5 January 2020. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  14. ^ "Maduro insultó el criterio de los venezolanos y afirmó que "en la AN decidió la oposición"". La Patilla (in Spanish). 2020-01-05. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  15. ^ "Maduro insultó el criterio de los venezolanos y afirmó que "en la AN decidió la oposición"". La Patilla (in Spanish). 2020-01-05. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  16. ^ Ellsworth, Brian (7 January 2020). "Little-known Venezuela legislator becomes Maduro's choice for opposition leader". Reuters. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  17. ^ Teslova, Elena (7 January 2020). "Russia praises election of Venezuelan parliament chief". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Rusia intenta negociar contratos petroleros con el parlamento controlado por Maduro". ABC (in Spanish). 2020-01-11. Retrieved 2020-01-11.
  19. ^ Flynn, J.D. (9 January 2020). "Venezuelan bishops denounce contested election of legislative speaker". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  20. ^ "Luis Parra trató de reunirse con obispos de la Conferencia Episcopal Venezolana". El Nacional (in Spanish). 12 January 2020. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  21. ^ a b "U.S. targets Maduro-picked top legislator, six others in fresh Venezuelan sanctions". Reuters. 2020-01-13. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  22. ^ Martínez, Valentín Romero (13 January 2020). "Executive denounces "coercive" US measures against Venezuelan deputies". El Universal (Venezuela) (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 January 2020.