Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped from his home in Valencia, Venezuela, on Wednesday, a source close to Ramos‘ family confirmed to The Washington Times.
Ramos, 24, was with his family at the time of the incident but was the only one taken. The source said the family had informed police and was awaiting a call from kidnappers..
Ramos was preparing to play for Tigres de Aragua, a Venezuelan Winter League team, this week while spending his offseason at home in Valencia with his family.
According to a report in El Nacional and another in El Siglo, Ramos was approached by four “heavily armed gunmen” near his home around 7:30 p.m. Venezuelan time.
While a kidnapping is a big deal here in the United States, it is commonplace in Venezuela. Indeed, it is a major source of income for criminal gangs. In most cases, the victim is taken for ransom money and released unharmed after the criminals are paid. An “express kidnapping” can net the perpetrators $25,000 on the low end but the ransom can rise to as much as $2 million dollars, according to the director of the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence. Ramos, as a Major League baseball player, could fetch a far larger ransom than a businessman plucked at random off the street.
I hope the authorities catch the kidnappers and that Ramos returns to his family soon and without a dime of ransom paid. We are talking about a nation run by the wicked and corrupt Hugo Chavez, who may have suppressed the true number of kidnappings in the country last year, though, so adjust your own hopes accordingly.