Major League Baseball player Wilson Ramos kidnapped in Venezuela.
As of this writing there is still no news of any groups, or individuals, claiming responsibility or demand for ransom as of yet.
Also, as of this writing,- while much reporting in the MSM has covered the increase in ransom kidnappings in Venezuela, none are reporting on the link between ransom kidnappings to finance "jihad", or the cooperation between Islamists and the drug cartels.
[Scroll to bottom for update]
Kidnappings are on the rise in Hugo Chavez's Hizbullah-Iran friendly Venezuela.
Under Chavez, Venezuela has become an Islamist jihadist sanctuary.
As Islamists have increasingly made in-roads into Latin America many violent acts of terror, typical of jihad-terror groups around the globe, are now becoming characteristic of the drug trade violence just south of our border.
An inevitable result of jihadist-drug cartel cooperation.
For example the recent "beheadings" in Mexico.
Kidnappings for ransom to finance jihad has long been a practice of many Islamist terror groups. One jihad terror group in particular is Abu Sayaff in the Philippines.
Abu Sayaff jihadists kidnap for ransom to get money to finance their jihad activities against the government of the Philippines.
Fox News reported-
"Bin Laden Showed interest in Kidnapping for Ransom"
From the Terror Finance blog:
"AQIM Kidnap for Ransom Practice..."
["Kidnapping-for-ransom is considered by many experts as an 'alternative source of terrorism financing.'
But the recent abduction of five French nationals in Niger by the Al Qaeda’s Islamic Maghreb terrorist group (AQIM) highlights a worrisome regional trend that emerged in 2003, when AQIM first launched a major hostage taking campaign targeting foreign tourists.
Since then, AQIM has developed a growing criminal industry that sustains itself through huge ransoms they extort and drug trafficking.
It is estimated that the kidnap-for-ransom business in the Sahel region alone, put at least $65 million in the coffers of AQIM since 2005. More than 90% of the group’s funding derives from this single financial source. The rest comes from drug trafficking and donations.
The kidnapping business is so good, that hostage taking in the Sahel region had risen 150% between 2008 and 2009. The average ransom for the release of a Western hostage is $6.5 million.
Since 2008, AQIM raised more than $25 million from ransom for foreign nationals in the Sahel region. This makes AQIM richer than “Al Qaeda Central”, whose annual income was recently estimated by U.S. officials to be between $5 million to $10 million."]-read the rest here.
"Hezbollah's Inroads Into the Western Hemisphere"-Illan Berman
Over the past decade, the regime of Hugo Chavez in Caracas has forged an increasingly intimate strategic partnership with the Iranian government. As a corollary of those burgeoning ties, and in a reflection of Chavez' own support for radical causes, Venezuela has emerged as a major hub for Hezbollah."
"In 2008, the Bush administration directly accused the Chavez regime of serving as a safe haven and financial supporter of the Lebanese militia. "
"That year, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) formally designated two individuals, one of them a Venezuelan diplomat, for assisting the group. In making the designation, Adam Szubin, OFAC's director of political affairs, specifically referred to "the government of Venezuela employing and providing safe harbor for Hezbollah facilitators and fundraisers.""
"Hezbollah is known to use Venezuela's free trade zone of Margarita Island as a major financing and fundraising center, as well as to possess "support cells" there."
"The organization has also been accused of training Venezuelan militants in south Lebanon for possible attacks on American soil, and of operating training camps inside Venezuela itself, with the collusion of sympathetic government officials."]
"Islam and Immigration"-One news now.
Update: Good news-
Wilson Ramos rescued, found alive.
According to this report at Fox, heavy gunfire was exchanged with Ramos's abductors. Five men were arrested.
The only info in the report on Ramos's abductors only describes one of the men as having "links to paramilitary groups" and "kidnapping groups".
Those kind of descriptions don't tell anything.
No detailed info on exactly who these groups are, or if there is a jihadist connection.