Photo: Luis Carlos Díaz
It’s with great sadness that we announce the death of the Alcaldía Metropolitana de Caracas, after a long illness. The death itself was quick, under a session of the Constituent Assembly on December, 20th, 2017.
Ironically, it was another Constituent Assembly the entity to create it, in February 2000, something chavismo quickly regretted. If you didn’t know, the Metropolitan Mayor was the first civil, political and administrative authority in Caracas chosen in elections by simple majority and 2,528,687 voters, according the 2017 register. The first Metropolitan Mayor was Alfredo Peña, beating Chávez’ candidate, Aristóbulo Istúriz. It’s funny and important to remember it was Istúriz who proposed, last year, the Alcaldía Mayor’s execution. Very in line with how chavismo takes defeat.
After Peña’s controversial tenure (which included the 11-A coup and its arrested commissars), chavismo won the Alcaldía with Juan Barreto. Barreto “restructured” the police, made several expropriations and established the “poder popular“, a stint that left the Public Ministry investigating the institution for corruption.
In 2008, the opposition retook the crown jewel with Antonio Ledezma and 52,42% of the votes, but in 2009 violent chavista groups occupied the building and the red National Assembly took away most of its resources and attributions. Even Chávez himself hurried to create the Jefe de Gobierno del Distrito Capital figure, basically a parallel Alcaldía Mayor, headed by Jacqueline Faría.
If you didn’t know, the Metropolitan Mayor was the first civil, political and administrative authority in Caracas chosen in elections by simple majority.
It was all for naught; Ledezma won again in 2013, so chavismo decided to cut to the chase and, in February 2015, the SEBIN detained the mayor in his office. Later that day, Maduro accused him of being part of “Operación Jericó”, some nebulous plan to bomb Caracas with evidence we’re still waiting for.
It’s worth noting that Helen Fernández, mayor in charge and Ledezma’s successor, was removed in November 2017 by a decision of the Cabildo Metropolitano, with an opposition majority. The reasons for this… we leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions.
Bare weeks after Ledezma’s escape, his contested post was dead. Some oppo figures complained on Twitter, but looks like the only ones really grieving for the Alcaldía Mayor are its former workers, because for everyone else, this is a thing from the past, like the bicameral Parliament, RCTV and the pernil navideño. Si te he visto no me acuerdo.
Rest in peace Alcaldía. We barely knew you.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.