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  1. Venezuela Main Page
  2. The Hugo Chavez Era Begins
  3. Chavez Survives Referendum, Consolidates Power
  4. New Referendum Fails but Chavez is Undeterred
  5. New Challenges for Chavez at Home and Abroad
  6. Chavez Experiences Electoral Setback and Battles Health Issues
  7. Major League Baseball Player Kidnapped
  8. An End to the Monroe Doctrine?
  9. Chavez Wins 2012 Presidential Election
  10. Chavez Still Battling Cancer in Late 2012
  11. Chavez's New Term Begins Without Him
  12. Chavez Dies After a Long Battle with Cancer
  13. Protests Turn Violent in 2014
  14. Maduro Retaliates Against U.S. Sanctions
Major League Baseball Player Kidnapped

On Nov. 9, 2011, Wilson Ramos, a catcher for the Washington Nationals, was kidnapped by several men outside his parents' home, just east of Valencia. Kidnappings have been a problem for Venezuela over the last few years, but this was the first time that a Major League Baseball (MLB) player has been abducted. The country has one of the world's highest kidnapping rates. An estimated 17,000 people were kidnapped in Venezuela between July 2008 and July 2009.

Two days after Ramos was taken, Venezuelan police commandos rescued him during a gunfight. Eight people were charged in the kidnapping, including a 74-year-old man and 60-year-old woman who supplied food to the kidnappers from their nearby home. Authorities still searched for four Colombian men who escaped during the gunfight. Ramos was informed by his kidnappers that they had been watching his movements for some time before the abduction. The kidnappers only demanded money. The first known MLB player to be kidnapped in Venezuela, Ramos has brought attention to an ongoing problem in the country. While he was missing, candlelight vigils and public prayers were held at stadiums and outside Ramos's home. International media also covered the kidnapping.

Next: An End to the Monroe Doctrine?
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