Action Alert Venezuela: Owner of daily "La Nación" kidnapped

Human rights section for Latin America of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Lima

Fabio Cortés, owner of the daily "La Nación", published in San Cristóbal, was kidnapped on the morning of Saturday 29 June 2002. At 8:30 a.m. (local time), three armed individuals entered his house and apprehended him, his wife and his two daughters, aged seven and ten.

The assailants, who were dressed in civilian clothing and whose faces were covered, violently broke in while Cortés was having breakfast with his family.

One individual grabbed the journalist and businessman while the other two tied up his wife and daughters and locked them in another room. The kidnappers fled the scene in Cortés' wife's Chrysler Neon vehicle.

According to police investigators, two of the Cortés family dogs were poisoned two weeks before the kidnapping. The businessman had hired a security guard as a result but decided to let him go two days later.

Thus far there are no leads on the assailants' identity or the motive for the kidnapping.

Recommended Action:

Send appeals to the president:

- calling for a prompt investigation into the kidnapping and urging the authorities to do whatever is necessary to ascertain Cortés' whereabouts

Appeals to:

Hugo Chávez Frías

President of the Republic

Caracas, Venezuela

Fax: +58 212 806 3109 / 806 3221

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

For further information, contact Roberto Mejía Alarcón, the human rights section for Latin America of the IFJ, Jirón Costa Rica 202, Jesús María, Lima, Peru. tel: +51 1 460 1277, fax: +51 1 261 2843, e-mail: anp@terra.com.pe and/or ofip@hotmail.com.

The information contained in this action alert is the sole responsibility of the human rights section for Latin America of the IFJ. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit them.