Criminal Justice

Colombia's 2,800 Kidnap Victims Spark Talk Radio Program

Despite the recent high-profile Colombian army rescue last week of politician Ingrid Betancourt and 14 others held captive by kidnappers for years, some 2,800 others are still being held by Colombian kidnappers, most for ransom.

The number of victims, which is the most in any country in the world, has prompted a long-running talk radio program, Voices of Kidnapping, reports Bloomberg. Hosted on Sundays from midnight to 6 a.m. by Herbin Hoyos, who got the idea when he himself was kidnapped in 1994, it broadcasts calls from relatives of victims.

The program helps give victims held for long periods the hope and strength to go on—and, for that reason, their captors allow them to listen to it, the news agency writes. “The program is unique to Colombia, where guerrillas, paramilitaries and cocaine traffickers have used kidnapping for decades to raise cash and strengthen their negotiating position with the government.”

Betancourt, 46, says she regularly listened to her own relatives on the program, which was a crucial part of her life during her six years in captivity.

Additional coverage:

The Australian: “Betancourt’s rescue a masterstroke”

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