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Costa Rican diplomat kidnapped in Venezuela

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 9, 2012 -- Updated 1640 GMT (0040 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Armed attackers ambushed Guillermo Cholele, Venezuelan officials say
  • Costa Rican Foreign Ministry: A call to the diplomat's house requested money for his release
  • Cholele was kidnapped on his way home Sunday night, the ministry says
  • Authorities are investigating the kidnapping

Caracas, Venezuela (CNN) -- Authorities are investigating the kidnapping of a Costa Rican diplomat in Venezuela, officials said Monday.

Investigators believe a group of armed attackers ambushed Guillermo Cholele and forced him into a truck Sunday night, Venezuela's Public Ministry said in a statement.

Cholele, an official at the Costa Rican Embassy in Caracas, was on his way home when he was kidnapped, the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

A call to the diplomat's home requested money in exchange for his release and said Cholele was in good condition, the Foreign Ministry said.

"The Foreign Ministry considers these acts very serious and has begun coordinating with security authorities and officials from the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, in Caracas and in San Jose, to guarantee the health and safety of the Costa Rican diplomat," the statement said.

The kidnapping comes less than a month after a Chilean diplomat's daughter died when Venezuelan police shot at the car she was riding in.

In January, Mexico's ambassador to Venezuela and his wife were kidnapped in Caracas. They were freed less than 24 hours later.

As Venezuela's economy has stagnated in recent years, crimes such as kidnapping and murder have risen.

According to the National Institute of Statistics, 16,917 people were kidnapped between July 2008 and July 2010, or about 23 kidnappings a day.

Journalist Osmary Hernandez and CNNMexico.com's Rodrigo Aguiar contributed to this report.

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