Saturday, November 12, 2011

Update: Kidnapped Washington Nationals Catcher Rescued Despite Nagging Questions

The kidnapping of Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was rescued from his captors late on Friday (November 11) when Venezuelan police commandos converged on Ramos' five abductors.

Ramos, 24, had not been seen or heard from since he was seized at gunpoint outside his family's home on Wednesday (November 8) abducted by several gunmen. It was the first known kidnapping of a Major League Baseball player in Venezuela. Five men were arrested in the kidnapping, including a Colombian.

COMMENT: Although this is excellent news, we should not lose sight of the fact that Venezuelan forces took a considerable risk by not orchestrating a safer approach to rescuing Ramos. Whenever you have heavy gunfire being exchanged between the police and kidnappers there is always a considerable risk of the kidnap victim being killed.

During most of strongman Hugo Chavez' presidency, violent crime has flourished in Venezuela and particularly ransom kidnapping, with the majority of crimes going unsolved, which is why the swiftness with which Ramos was rescued seems questionable.

Quite frankly, the Venezuelan police are just not that efficient when it comes to rescuing high profile kidnap victims. If they have been ineffective in neutralizing an unprecedented crime wave throughout the country, why is it that they're able to rescue a kidnap victim in two days? Although we may never know the details of Ramos' rescue, the good news is that he has his freedom again.

On the other hand, how is it possible for police commandos and heavily armed kidnappers to engage in a prolonged gun battle and have no reports of those killed or injured on either side?

Finally, why was Ramos not better protected in his home country, given the high risk of him being kidnapped without an armed protective detail which the Venezuelan government should have provided?

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