Sunday, June 27, 2004

Mexico- They’ll Kidnap Anyone Now

No one is safe. Even the poor are being subjected to kidnapping as gangs and becoming less discriminating and more ruthless.
“Joshua Sierra's family wasn't rich. They lived in an apartment on Mexico City's gritty east side and hardly fit the mold of the affluent foreigners who have so often fallen prey to kidnappers.” Joshua is once two years old and hasn’t been seen since, even though the family paid the ransom.

Kidnappings are occurring all over Latin America, sparking protests of housewives in Mexico, and a demonstration of tens of thousands in Buenos Aires. It’s chilling to know that:
"Once they get you, they tend to be more violent, because they don't really have any coherent idea of how much money you have, or where you keep it," said Frank Holder, former head of Latin American operations for risk management company Kroll Inc. "They may decide to torture you to get that information."

We wonder how much information two-year-old Joshua could have provided.

Anyone can be a victim.

Mexican officials claim that kidnapping is down, peaking in 1997 with 1,047 known incidents. They admit that most incidents are not reported. Colombia is second in numbers of incidents, but most are political. In 2003, there were 4,000 incidents in Columbia, 3,000 in Mexico, and 2,000 in Argentina.

Con artists have devised many schemes to defraud families, including “virtual kidnappings,” in which the victims are “away” from the family for a time, such as on vacation or traveling, and the kidnapping can’t be immediately verified, extortion through threat of violence, kidnapped for “armed robberies” at an ATM, and even “self-kidnappings” done by victims to “get money from their families.”

It’s amazing how vulnerable we are in free societies. In the recent past we didn’t need bodyguards, walled enclosures, and security systems. The feelings of trust and security are gone, and we are going back, rather than progressing.
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