Skip to main content

Official: Kidnapped foreign diplomat freed in Venezuela

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 10, 2012 -- Updated 1245 GMT (2045 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police report says Cholele suffered a small wound to the head
  • The Costa Rican diplomat was kidnapped Sunday night
  • He has been freed, a Venezuelan minister said Tuesday
  • Cholele is in good health and on his way to be reunited with his family, the minister says

(CNN) -- A Costa Rican diplomat kidnapped in Venezuela has been freed, Venezuela's minister for justice and the interior said Tuesday.

The diplomat, Guillermo Cholele, was reported kidnapped Sunday night.

"Through the investigative work and political pressure, we have achieved the liberation of the Costa Rican diplomat," Minister Tareck El Aissami said on his Twitter account.

Cholele is in good physical shape and health, and was under police protection on his way to be reunited with his family, he said.

According to a police report, Cholele did have a small wound on his head where he had apparently been hit.

Cholele was kidnapped by unknown suspects and later left abandoned near a gas station, the police report said.

The kidnappers had asked the diplomat's family for $186,000 for his release, but it was not known if they complied, the police report says.

More details will be made public later in the day, the minister said.

Investigators believe a group of armed attackers ambushed Cholele and forced him into a truck Sunday night.

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

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 -- about 23 kidnappings a day.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT