The Fernando Albán We Knew

After his tragic death while under SEBIN custody, stories of Fernando Albán’s life and what he did for his coworkers in the Cabildo and even for people who disagreed politically with him, from someone who knew him.

Photo: 800 Noticias retrieved

For many, councilman Fernando Albán was a total stranger until last Monday, when we found out about the tragedy and mystery surrounding his death. For us, he was “Albán”, our coworker from the Cabildo Metropolitano who paid with his life the Bolivarian sin of being too close to Julio Borges.

Albán was the Executive Director of the Cabildo Metropolitano, a role that sounds more pompous than it really was—especially after Chávez seized the Alcaldía Metropolitana facilities and we were left with an empty shell (literally and metaphorically). Luckily, he was a seasoned funcionario publico with the golden problem-solving skills needed in the new Cabildo: on his first week he had to find an office for 500 people, find venues to run the Council sessions every week, and make up for Barreto’s mess and the horror of the inherited payroll.

He insisted on keeping us close to the power within Libertador, so our new (but not so shiny) offices were just across the National Assembly. A metaphorical middle finger to the government.

Did I mention that Albán, even though he was from Primero Justicia, had to work with all concejales? All of them, including Richard Peñalver (yes, that guy from Puente Llaguno) was one of the councilmen on the chavista bench who liked to air his grievances in Albán’s office.

Albán was the guy who showed us the ropes early in our new jobs: we were the energetic newcomers from the movimiento estudiantil who were about to work in one of the craziest places of the public administration.

He was the guy who sat down and had a working relationship with the chavista unions so the concejales could hold sessions in peace.

The kind of boss whose employees bought a cake for, to celebrate his birthday.

The one who protected us when we were held hostage (true story).

Proof that not all heroes wear capes.