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Venezuela probes kidnapping of Costa Rican diplomat

04-10-2012 14:00 BJT

CARACAS, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela is investigating the kidnapping of a trade attache from Costa Rica's embassy here, Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said Monday.

The diplomat, Guillermo Cholele, 59, was kidnapped Sunday night in Caracas by unidentified men when arriving home and was forced into a van.

"Since the kidnapping happened until now we have been giving the case our full attention," El Aissami said, adding that an investigation is now underway.

"As soon as we knew this regrettable fact, we communicated with his family and we are working for the quick release of the diplomat," the minister said.

Venezuela's Public Prosecutor's Office has appointed those who will coordinate the investigation, together with the Penal and Criminal Investigations Unit (CICPC) and the Anti-Blackmailing and Kidnapping Unit.

At a press conference, El Aissami was asked if the crimes against diplomats were deliberate to intimidate the population.

"We are obliged to fully investigate and we don't reject any hypothesis," he said, adding that some criminals are indeed interested in creating commotion.

The Costa Rican foreign ministry said in a statement that it considers these events "extraordinarily serious" and confirmed that a ransom has been demanded of Cholele's relatives in Costa Rica.

Caracas is one of the most dangerous cities in Latin America. Crimes such as kidnappings are frequent here.

In January, Mexican Ambassador Carlos Pujalte and his wife were kidnapped and released four hours later.

In November 2011, Chile's consul in Caracas was briefly kidnapped and even shot, but was released by his captors two hours later.

Venezuela has been suffering a wave of high-profile abductions since 2009. Besides diplomats, abductees also included sports stars, such as U.S. baseball player Wilson Ramos from the Washington Nationals team, who was kidnapped last year.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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