This year more than 1,000 traditional ransom kidnappings have been reported in Venezuela. Add to that a spike in the number of so-called secuestros express, or express kidnappings – in which victims are abducted and frog-marched to cash machines – and an unknown number of unreported crimes and the true toll is likely to be far higher. Venezuela’s National Statistics Institute claims that more than 16,000 people were kidnapped in 2009.
Wow, this is quite the problem in Venezuela, and no wonder security firms are busy there? -Matt
Security firms fight tide of kidnappings in Venezuela
Security has become a key election issue and private contractors are multiplying in Latin America’s abduction capital
Virginia Lopez in Caracas and Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro
Friday 18 November 2011
When the Venezuelan baseball star Wilson Ramos was freed from his two-day kidnapping ordeal last week he flung his arms around his rescuers and wept in disbelief. It was a desperate embrace that Miguel Dao recognised only too well.
“Rescuing somebody who has been kidnapped is one of those strange situations where the victim is forced to have total trust in a stranger,” said Dao, a 62-year-old Caracas-based kidnap negotiator. “A very special kind of bond arises.”
Once the head of the Technical Investigative Police, Venezuela’s answer to the FBI, Dao is now part of a growing team of negotiators and private security contractors battling to stem a tide of kidnappings in what has become Latin America’s abduction capital.