Guillermo Cholele, a trade attaché at the Costa Rican Embassy in the capital Caracas, has been freed by his captors in Venezuela after having been kidnapped and held for ransom last weekend.
Cholele was seized by unknown gunmen and also took the diplomat’s car late on Sunday while he was driving home to La Urbina, a middle-class neighborhood in the eastern part of the capital.
His was the latest in a string of violent crimes plaguing the country, and have underscored one of the world’s highest crime rates. Despite huge oil reserves, violent crimes such as murders, armed robberies and kidnappings have continued unabated in the country.
Abductions have been in high volume lately, most common being “express kidnappings” which are typically motivated purely by money. Last January, Mexican Ambassador Carlos Pujalte and his wife were kidnapped, only to be freed four hours later. Another instance is last November’s kidnapping ofChile’s consul inCaracas, who was also released by his captors just two hours later.
The increasing surge in violence against supposedly “easy-target” diplomats in recent months has also underlined the rampant insecurity that the Venezuelan government suffers from.
In a voting year where incumbent Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is seeking a new six-year term, some Chavez supporters have suggested that the crime wave may have been plotted by the opposition in an attempt to discredit the current administration and tarnish Chavez’s achievements.
No reports have been made on whether ransom was paid.