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Juan Oropeza Riera was a Venezuelan diplomat, lawyer, educator, and writer. He was born in Carora in the state of Lara, and was the younger brother of pediatrics pioneer, Pastor Oropeza Riera.
In his youth, he opposed the totalitarian regime of President Juan Vicente Gomez and became a member of the student-led movement called "Generation of 1928". He was imprisoned and eventually sent into exile with some of the other group members. In 1931, he worked as a correspondent for Elite Magazine in Madrid, Spain. Upon his return to Venezuela he became a founding member of Accion Democratica, one of the two most prominent political parties in the nation's republican history, alongside such important figures as Luis Beltran Prieto Figueroa, Mariano Picon Salas and former Venezuelan President Romulo Betancourt.
His close friend Pablo Neruda once said of him: "Juan couldn't possibly be president, let someone else take care of that, it would be a waste of his talent, he's too elaborate and far too honest ever to be president". Arturo Uslar Pietri, one of Juan Oropeza's closest friends and his intellectual peer, once ran for office without much success, on account of his lack of political savy due partly to his impeccable prose, refined manners and strong moral values and points of view, obvious trademarks of his well-to-do upbringing. Everyone agreed on the fact that he was an intellectual force to be reckoned with but not a fierce political leader, so in the end, Neruda's words were proven right.
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