The abduction of Guillermo Cholele as he arrived at his home east of Caracas on Sunday night was at least the third kidnapping of a diplomat in recent months in the violence-plagued Venezuelan capital. Security forces have seen their authority eroded as ailing President Hugo Chavez often has been abroad for medical treatment in Cuba.
Costa Rican Ambassador Nazareth Avendano told a news conference that Cholele was driven away in his embassy vehicle by an unknown number of captors.
A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in San Jose, the capital, said that the kidnappers had been in contact with the Costa Rican government and that a ransom demand was received but did not specify the sum.
In January, Mexican Ambassador Carlos Pujalte and his wife were kidnapped, and in November Chile's consul in Caracas was shot and wounded in an abduction. The captives were released within hours in both prior incidents.
-- Carol J. Williams in Los Angeles
Photo: Nazareth Avendano, Costa Rica's ambassador to Venezuela, speaks with the media at her office in Caracas, Venezuela, on Monday about the kidnapping of trade attache Guillermo Cholele. Credit: Fernando Llano / Associated Press