Venezuela lost a talented diplomat on Friday with the death of Alirio Parra. Parra, who passed at the age of 90, helped found the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and remained influential figure around the world up until his death.
Parra, as an assistant to Venezuela’s then energy minister, represented the country at the founding OPEC summit in Baghdad in 1960 where diplomats from Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, and Iraq met to create the organization.
During his career, not only did he serve as head of Venezuela’s energy and mines (1992 to 1994) and head of its OPEC delegation, but also held the OPEC presidency and Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA.
“He would always go to Vienna for the meetings,” an industry source who knew Parra said to Reuters reporters. “He did not go to the OPEC Secretariat, but people would come and see him. He was quietly influential.”
He attended the vast majority of OPEC’s 173 meetings since 1960 in various capacities, since 1997 as a member of the board of CWC Associates, an energy conference organizer.
OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo paid tribute to “one of the great men of the industry” in a draft OPEC statement
Another OPEC associate agreed, telling Reuters, “He was not only instrumental in founding OPEC but continued to be associated with the organization throughout his eventful life.”