Kidnapped Venezuelan journalist Nairobi Pinto freed after 8 days

By Diego Cruz

After being kidnapped for eight days, Venezuelan journalist Nairobi Pinto was safely released today April 14, Globovisión reported. Pinto was freed in the city of Cúa, where she was met and taken care of by municipal police and then moved to Caracas.

Although the motive behind her release is still unknown, Miguel Rodríguez Torres, minister of the Interior and Justice, speculated it was due to police pressure, since approximately 3,000 officers were deployed in the municipalities close to where Pinto was found, according to the newspaper El País. Rodríguez Torres clarified the police did not pay any reward for the journalist’s release.

At a press conference in the nation’s capital, Pinto thanked the journalists, media organizations and individuals who supported and motivated efforts to find her, saying this had contributed to her release, according to the digital newspaper Infobae.

“Thank you for bringing this to a happy end. I want to thank the authorities because among other things they told me that all of Venezuela was moved by my case,” she said.

Pinto is the assignment editor for the news division of TV network Globovisión and was kidnapped by two masked men on Sunday April 6 after returning home from the supermarket in Caracas. Days later, her colleagues and other journalists started an online campaign petitioning her freedom.

The journalist said she had her eyes closed the entire time and could see neither the faces of her captors nor their number, according to Infobae. She added that they treated her well, giving her three meals a day and never touching her.

I don’t want to give too many details, firstly for safety reasons and secondly because I’m starting to become conscious of all that I lived through,” Pinto told the press. “At first I was very strong, but now it’s something intimidate that’s starting to hurt.”

Authorities have not detained anyone in connection to the kidnapping and the motive behind the crime is still unknown, Rodríguez Torres told the newspaper La Nación. He also said the police would provide protection for Pinto until she got back into her daily routine.

The minister also said he did not believe the kidnapping was only motivated by purely economic reasons since Pinto is an individual with a social impact in several fronts. He cited her role as a journalist and “what that implies in terms of safety,” as well as her roles as a church coordinator and as a student in the Central University of Venezuela.

“We don’t want to speculate but we are investigating who would gain anything from this action,” Rodríguez Torres said.

Las week the minister discarded the possibility that the kidnapping was politically motivated, a theory proposed by opposition student leader Gabriela Arellano, who is a friend of Pinto’s and believed their relationship could have resulted in her capture.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.