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Kidnapped Costa Rican diplomat released

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A Costa Rican diplomat has been freed by his captors in Venezuela after a kidnapping ordeal that lasted more than a day, authorities have said.

Guillermo Cholele is in good health, Venezuela’s Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said in a message on his Twitter account on Tuesday.

He said in the message that the diplomat, the trade attaché for the Costa Rican Embassy in the capital Caracas, was with police and "on the way to being reunited with relatives".

Cholele was seized on Sunday night as he returned to his home in La Urbina, a middle-class neighborhood in the eastern part of the capital.

Police found Cholele at about 2am local time on Tuesday walking near a gas station in the town of Charallave south of Caracas, where his captors released him, state police chief Eliseo Guzman told The Associated Press.

"He was a little disoriented,'' Guzman said in a telephone interview. He said the diplomat had a small cut on his head.

The police chief said Cholele told police his captors had kept him blindfolded in a vehicle as they drove around for about an hour before freeing him.

Asked if any ransom had been paid, Guzman said: "We aren't in a position to know if a payment occurred, or what were the other things that had an influence in his liberation."

Diplomats targeted

Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo said in the statement that the news "brings enormous tranquility" to the family and the government.

Cholele was taken for medical checks and was questioned by Venezuelan authorities who are investigating the abduction, the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry said.

Diplomats in Venezuela have been targeted in several attacks in recent months, underlining rampant insecurity that mostly affects Venezuelans and which voters say is their biggest concern as President Hugo Chavez campaigns for a new six-year term in the October 7 election.

In January, Mexican Ambassador Carlos Pujalte was abducted together with his wife. They were freed four hours later.

Last year in November, Chile's consul in Caracas was briefly kidnapped and was released by his captors about two hours later.

A diplomat from Belarus was also kidnapped last year.


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