The kidnapping of a Major League baseball catcher in Venezuela has highlighted the increasing criminality in the south American nation.
Baseball fans mounted a vigil outside Wilson Ramos’s hometown stadium, calling for the release of the 24-year-old.
Ramos had made a big impact in his rookie season with the Washington Nationals. Like other Venezuelans, he had returned home to play in the winter league.
He was taken at gunpoint outside his family home in a working-class neighbourhood of Valencia on Wednesday.
The kidnapping is an embarrassment for the government which is facing rising rates of murder, violent crimes and abductions in general. It has introduced measure to counter kidnappings, such as allowing banks to freeze victims’ families’ assets to stop ransoms being paid.
But the risk of being abducted in the country is now said to be the second highest in Latin America after northern Mexico, where drug cartels wreak havoc.