Venezuela is also a founding member of OPEC (the only non-Arab founding member) and has considerable leverage in the world oil market. Juan
Pablo Pérez Alfonzo (Juan Pérez), former Venezuelan oil minister, OPEC cofounder, and the so-called Father of OPEC, laid the groundwork for some of Venezuela's influence in the worldwide oil industry today. He worked to form arrangements between major oil companies and oil-exporting countries that were more favorable to the latter. He also successfully persuaded industry leaders that the prices that oil companies declared for tax purposes were below their actual value. He established contact with Iran and the Soviet Union in the hopes of forming a partnership to limit the major oil companies' control of the international oil market. Pérez was forced into exile in 1949 after a military coup by Marcos Pérez Jiménez, who formed a government with the backing of the United States. Juan Pérez returned to the country and his position as oil minister in 1959 when Jimenez was ousted from power.
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