Edgardo Parra's fall from grace

Edgardo-Parra-The incumbent Chavista mayor of Valencia, Edgardo Parra, was arrested last night by SEBIN agents for his possible involvement in a corruption case.

Days ago, the office of a company belonging to Parra’s son was also raided. Four people were arrested and several properties seized.

Parra has denied any wrongdoing and said that “…he’s open to an investigation”, as he beseeched his son to assume his personal responsibility.

However, looks like Parra’s fate was sealed after Carabobo State Governor Francisco Ameliach accused him, his son and Valencia’s Treasury Director Alberto Terán of being involved in corruption and called authorities to intervene. Hours later, Parra was detained.

Parra is not running for re-election this December, because the PSUV-GPP alliance chose instead Ameliach’s ally Miguel Flores as its candidate (He was until recently Carabobo’s Secretario General de Gobierno, a post roughly translatable as the Governor’s chief-of-staff, or a kind of appointed Lieutenant Governor).

The alleged case of extorsion involving Parra’s son is by no means the only alleged corruption case inside Valencia’s municipal government: Last year, four checkbooks of the city’s Treasury went “missing”. The related post provides us with a small glimpse of Parra’s style of governance.

What’s striking here is the timing. This series of events comes just weeks before the 8-D local elections and right in the middle of the discussion regarding Maduro’s request for an Enabling Law to fight corruption. Turns out he doesn’t actually need special powers to prosecute guys as Parra, as there is already a Law against corruption on the books – which, needless to say, se acata pero no se cumple.

So why do this now, and in such a hurry? Is Edgardo Parra being used as a scapegoat to pass the Enabling Law? Is this the result of infighting inside chavismo in Carabobo or just an electoral ploy to improve Flores’s chances to win?

There are more questions than answers. To know more details about the case, we’ll have to wait to Edgardo Parra’s court appearance on Monday, when he will be formally charged.