A Colombian businessman was kidnapped Tuesday in the northern coastal state of Magdalena.
Eduardo Vives, the cousin of a former congressman imprisoned for ties to paramilitary groups and of a losing candidate in last Sunday’s congressional election, was kidnapped by two armed men in his estate near the state capital of Santa Marta.
Two unidentified men armed with handguns abducted the entrepreneur at 1:30 PM on Tuesday at his estate, Brigadier General Juan Bautista Yepes Bedoya told the Semana magazine.
The Army First Division commander also stated that four other workers who were present at the time were gagged by the perpetrators, and that Vives was driven away in a grey van.
The workers reportedly only managed to free themselves two hours later, after which they reported the kidnap to Santa Marta authorities.
Vives is a partner in the Frupalma S. A. company, which produces animal and vegetable oils and fats.
Local authorities are currently offering nearly $15,000 in return for information leading to the whereabouts of Vives Lacouture or his kidnappers.
Security forces reportedly formed a perimeter in the area that same day to avoid the victim being smuggled out of the region.
The estate in which Eduardo Vives Lacouture is located in the municipality of Cienaga, approximately 40 minutes from Santa Marta. So far, no motive has been presented for the kidnapping, and police have not reported any ransom demands.
A mixed past
In the past, the affluent Vives family has both fallen victim to kidnapping and played a role in promoting related activity.
The businessman’s cousin, Mauricio Vives, was abducted by the ELN rebel group, Colombia’s second largest, in November 2005 and found dead in March 2007, having been buried in an anonymous grave.
At the same time, another of Vives’ cousins, former congressman Luis Eduardo Vives, was convicted of collaborating with paramilitary groups involved in kidnapping and other large-scale criminal activities. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for “parapolitics” in August 2008, though he claimed he had only met with a leader of the AUC paramilitary umbrella group to learn what had happened to his kidnapped brother.
Another member of the Caribbean coast’s Vives family, Raul Vives, recently lost in his race to win a seat in Senate for the 2014 to 2018 term.
- Secuestraron al empresario Eduardo Vives Lacouture (Semana)
- Secuestran al empresario samario Eduardo Alfonso Vives Lacouture (El Tiempo)
- Secuestran a Eduardo Vives Lacouture en su finca en Orihueca, Magdalena (El Heraldo)
- Luis Eduardo Vives (Verdad Abierta)