CARACAS, April 14 A high-profile Venezuelan
journalist was freed on Monday after a week-long kidnapping that
thrust attention once again on the South American nation's
endemic violent crime.
Nairobi Pinto, 32-year-old head of correspondents for
private TV station Globovision, was found "safe and sound" in
the town of Cua, about 60 km (38 miles) south of Caracas,
"She's alive, she's fine," said her TV station, which for
years was a vehemently anti-government broadcaster until a
change of ownership in 2013.
No further details were given of Pinto's kidnapping, which
had been front-page news for a week and drawn attention to what
most Venezuelans say is their nation's No. 1 problem: crime.
The United Nations said last week Venezuela had the world's
second-highest murder rate, quoting 2012 figures of 53.7
homicides per 100,000 people. President Nicolas Maduro's
government said that figure fell to 39 last year, but a local
non-government watchdog says the real level was double that.
Kidnappings, also, are rife, mainly for extortion.
Pinto was taken by armed gunmen on April 6 returning home
from a supermarket in Caracas. Colleagues and relatives had been
holding daily vigils and marches to demand her safe return.
Crime has been a major complaint of anti-government
protesters who have been taking to the streets since early
February, sparking unrest that has killed 41 people.
The murder in January of a former Miss Venezuela and her
ex-husband, in front of their five-year-old daughter, caused
particular outrage in the nation of 29 million people.
(For a feature on crime in Venezuela, see )
(Reporting by Diego Ore; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing
by James Dalgleish)