Guillermo Cholele: Costa Rica diplomat kidnapped in Venezuela


Activists carrying placards that read "No to violence" (L) and "United for peace" take part in a demonstration against violence in Caracas on March 14, 2012. 2011 was the bloodiest year of Venezuela's recent history, with the highest rate of homicides and kidnappings, while violence in prisons claimed a record number of deaths and injuries.



Guillermo Cholele, 55, the Commercial Attaché at the Costa Rican Embassy to Venezuela, was kidnapped on Sunday at about 10:40 p.m. in Caracas, reported El Universal. He was abducted in the northeastern neighborhood of La Urbina as he was arriving home in his car, which has diplomatic corps license plates. The vehicle was also taken. 

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"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 Costa Rican Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. This ministry is calling the incident "extremely serious."

Venezuelan police are investigating, said Ambassador Nazareth Avendaño. Costa Rica's Foreign Ministry also said its officials are in contact with Venezuelan officials.

Avendaño said she expected a favorable resolution of the situation, reported El Universal. The ambassador also said the embassy is waiting for actions from the Venezuelan security authorities.

Abductions are frequent in Venezuela, where violent crime tops the list of citizens' worries, according to Reuters. The most common are "express kidnappings," which are generally short and motivated solely by money.

Other diplomats have been kidnapped in Venezuela recently. In January, Mexican Ambassador Carlos Pujalte and his wife were kidnapped. They were freed four hours later, reported the AP. In November, Chile's consul in Caracas was also briefly kidnapped and released. He was shot and wounded during the two-hour ordeal.