Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was rescued by police two days after being kidnapped in Venezuela. Venezuelan police commandos arrested five alleged abductors after police and the kidnappers exchanged heavy fire in the remote mountainous area where he was being held.
Five men were arrested in the kidnapping, including a Colombian “linked to paramilitary groups and to kidnapping groups.”
President Hugo Chavez had authorized the “rescue operation by air” that freed Ramos, Information Minister Andres Izarra said on his Twitter account.
“The truth is I’m still very nervous, but thanks to God everything turned out well,” Ramos said, shortly after his 3 a.m. arrival at his mother’s house, where a joyous crowd of well-wishers had gathered after receiving news of his release.
“Thank God, I’m alive and here at home,” Ramos, 24, told the crowd, which had waited five hours for his arrival. “I thank you for everything. I don’t have words to express all that I feel, and how thankful I am for all your help. Thank you, for real. I really love you.”
He thanked the police and National Guard commandos who rescued him, saying “the boys did a great job.”Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he had spoke with Ramos by phone and that he was unharmed.
“I join Wilson in thanking the many law enforcement officials in Venezuela and investigators with Major League Baseball who worked tirelessly to ensure a positive ending to what has been a frightening ordeal,” Rizzo said in a statement. “The entire Washington Nationals family is thankful that Wilson Ramos is coming home.”