Costa Rica Diplomat Kidnapped In Venezuela

Venezuelan police are searching for a Costa Rican diplomat who has been kidnapped in Caracas.

Venezuelan police are searching for a Costa Rican diplomat who has been kidnapped in Caracas.

The Costa Rican embassy's trade attache, Guillermo Cholele, was abducted in his diplomatic car from outside his home on Sunday night.

A ransom has been demanded for his release.

He is the third diplomat to be kidnapped in recent months in Venezuela, which suffers from levels of violent crime.

"A telephone call made to the diplomats' residence mentioned the request of a sum as ransom and added that he was in good health," the Costa Rican foreign ministry said in a statement.

It called the abduction "extremely serious" and said Mr Cholele needed medication for a heart condition and high blood pressure.

'Not isolated'

Venezuelan Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami said the investigation was being handled at the highest level.

Police have been searching two tower blocks in Caracas where it is thought the kidnappers may be holding Mr Cholele, local media reported.

"For me, this kidnapping is organised crime and unfortunately Caracas is one of the most dangerous cities in the world and this is not an isolated case," Costa Rica's Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Roverrsi said.

In January Mexican ambassador Carlos Pujalte and his wife were briefly kidnapped in Caracas before being released.

Last November the Chilean consul in Caracas was abducted, beaten and shot in the leg before being released.

And just last month Karen Berendique - the teenage daughter of a Chilean diplomat - was shot dead by police.

Officers said she had failed to stop at a roadblock.

Venezuela has some of the highest rates of murder and kidnap in Latin America, with Caracas particularly affected.

The opposition coalition have made crime and insecurity a key issue in their campaign for October's presidential election.