Mexico’s ambassador to Venezuela, Carlos Pujalte, and his wife were abducted in Caracas and held for four hours before being released, in what appears to have been an “express kidnapping.”
The couple were snatched by four armed men when leaving a reception in the city at midnight, reported Globovision.
They were left by their captors in another section of the city at around 4 a.m., apparently unharmed.
InSight Crime Analysis
The ambassador and his wife appear to have suffered an “express kidnapping,” when victims are held only briefly, and robbed of the goods they are carrying or the funds in their bank account.
While El Economista states that Venezuela sees five express kidnappings a day, InSight Crime sources have put the figure as high as 40. Overall, kidnappings rose 60 percent in the country between 2009 and 2010, causing Venezuela to become the world kidnap capital.
The Pujaltes’ kidnapping follows that of other high-profile victims, with Nationals pitcher Wilson Ramos abducted in November, and the Chilean consul held for two hours some days later. A Belarusian diplomat was reportedly kidnapped in December.
These cases demonstrate the strength of kidnapping gangs in Venezuela, who are apparently able to target wealthy public figures who have high levels of security.