Costa Rican Diplomat Kidnapped in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A diplomat from the Costa Rican Embassy was kidnapped in Venezuela and his abductors have demanded a ransom, Costa Rican officials said Monday.

Guillermo Cholele, the embassy’s trade attache, was kidnapped on Sunday night as he was arriving at his home in eastern Caracas, Ambassador Nazareth Avendano said at a news conference.

His abductors took him away in his vehicle, which has diplomatic corps license plates, the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry said.

“A telephone call made to the diplomat’s residence mentioned the request of a … sum as ransom and added that he’s in good health,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, calling the incident “extremely serious.”

The ambassador said the abductors had not made contact since that initial call on Sunday.

“It’s been a big blow,” Avendano said. Cholele has been based in Venezuela for six years and lives with his wife and two children, the ambassador said.

She said that the embassy is awaiting further instructions from Costa Rica’s government and that Venezuelan police are investigating. Prosecutors also were participating in the investigation.

Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry said that its officials were in contact with Venezuelan officials about the case.

Violent crimes including ransom kidnappings and killings are frequent in Venezuela.

Other diplomats have been kidnapped in Venezuela recently. In January, Mexican Ambassador Carlos Pujalte was kidnapped together with his wife. They were freed four hours later, and prosecutors said the following week that three suspects were arrested in the crime.

In November, Chile’s consul in Caracas was briefly kidnapped and was released by his captors about two hours later. He was shot and wounded during the ordeal.

Reprinted from USA Today

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