TV journalist kidnapped by gunmen in Venezuela

SAO PAULO - A television news editor was seized by two gunmen and abducted outside her home in the west of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on Sunday, members of her family said Monday.

Nairobi Pinto, an editor at Venezuela's Globovisión TV news network, was kidnapped in the late afternoon by two armed and masked men in a metallic blue Chevy without registration plates, Marielisa González, Pinto's sister-in-law, told Venezuela's NTN24 news channel.

“They were masked and armed and without saying a word they took Nairobi,” González said. “We don't know why they took her.”

Globovisión, a 24-hour news channel, had a string of run-ins with Venezuela's ruling Socialist government under the late ex-President Hugo Chávez but in 2013 it was sold, and the new owners are widely reported to have ties to Chávez's successor, Nicolás Maduro.

There has been no word yet from police on the kidnapping. Colleagues from a range of news channels took to social media to spread word of the kidnapping.

Luis Pinto called on his daughter’s kidnappers to release her in an interview with Unión Radio Noticias radio news station:

“I'm speaking with my heart in my hand: I hope that the people who committed this disastrous act might think at some point of their children, their sisters, their mothers,” Pinto said. He added he had faith that his daughter would be returned and that he had confidence “in all steps taken by the police to solve the case.”

- Online solidarity

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles tweeted: “All our solidarity to Nairobi Pinto, and her family, colleagues, friends. We hope she soon returns home.”

Venezuela is one of Latin America's most violent countries: officials say 11,000 people were killed there last year, but non-governmental organizations say the number is far higher, with one putting the figure at around 25,000.

Kidnappings are not uncommon, particularly of diplomats and business figures, but most are released soon afterwards.

Soaring crime and war zone-like murder rates have led in part to widespread anti-government protests which recently entered their third month.

Nearly forty people have died so far in the unrest, both protesters and government supporters, officials say. Hundreds more have been injured and detained.

A peace commission convened by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) embarked on its second mission to the country this week to seek dialogue between government and opposition figures.

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