Wilson Ramos Kidnapped in Venezuela

Presumably while Penn State students were rioting about a football coach (and not about the crimes that had been committed) and a Republican presidential candidate was forgetting his lines (and not getting much help from his colleagues), a young MLB hopeful was being kidnapped in his home country of Venezuela.  And although this is apparently not the first time this has happened, it’s the first time any real attention has been paid to it in the media (or maybe its just the Washington media). 

Last night, the Washington Nationals’ catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in his home in Venezuela by four gunmen.  According to the Washington Post, kidnappings in the South American country are quite common:  “Ramos is believed to be the most high-profile baseball player kidnapped in Venezuela, but the rash of abductions has touched the baseball world there before. In 2008, the brother of Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Henry Blanco was kidnapped and killed, his body found a day after he was taken. In 2009, Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba paid a ransom to get his son back, and pitcher Victor Zambrano’s mother was rescued in a raid.”

As a sociologist, I need more facts to draw any conclusions.  However, at the moment, I have many questions:  Are these kidnappings related to the individuals’ associations with MLB (and the billions of dollars that represents)?  If so, what is MLB doing about it?  What is the U.S. doing about this kind of violence in Venezuela and other countries?  Why is this incident less important to the media than a bunch of college kids in Pennsylvania? 

I’ve been working on blog posts on the winter leagues and other “off-season” activities, so over the next several weeks we will be taking a closer look at Venezuela and other countries where baseball is played during the MLB off season.  In the meantime, here’s hoping that Ramos and any other kidnap victims are returned safely and someone can put an end to this violence.

~ baseballrebecca


One thought on “Wilson Ramos Kidnapped in Venezuela

  1. Why is this incident less important to the media than a bunch of college kids in Pennsylvania?

    For good reason, the American news media, has chosen not to make the kidnapping of a Venezuelan athelete who plays in the American major league less important; kidnapping the affluent in Venezuela has become an everyday occurance. For well over a decade, Chevaz has allowed his country’s citizenry to feel less and less secure. This approach to governance allows for this dictator to remain the man behind the curtain everyone is asked to not look behind.

    In fact, your own Washington Post reports “According to government statistics released by private research organizations, homicides quadrupled from 4,550 in 1998, the year Chavez won office, to more than 17,000 last year, giving this country of 29 million a homicide rate higher than Iraq’s. In the capital of Caracas, the homicide rate hovers at 200 per 100,000 people, more than eight times the rate of Bogota, Colombia’s capital.

    “In 2010, Caracas became the deadliest capital in the world with the highest murder rate in the world, averaging one murder every hour,” according to the State Department’s crime and safety report for U.S. diplomats.”

    The student reaction to the firing of Penn State Coach Joe Paterno was nothing more than a one day story; a meaningless part of a much larger tragic and ongoing event which revealed the violation of trust upon innocent American children. The juxtapostion of the two events (Sandusky’s crimes and Paterno’s firing) was a telling moment in the very sad end to an otherwise legendary career of an American athletic icon; a man beloved as a father-figure by those whose parents just may have prefered Sandusky’s worldview. While, for the most part, the 2000 college kids who gathered that night were relatively peaceful, the nuckleheads who would add to the night’s “violent” activity would dominate the next days news cycle. That, unfortunately, is the sizzle the American public sadly expects….and the media provides.

    The serial violation of a child from a person believed to be in a postion of trust establishes an inference of insecurity, a reality Venezuela’s Chavez could care less about….And, because the American people demand to know of such things (albeit to ad nauseum), the American media will deliver the information they require.


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