Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez '13's NYTimes Op-Ed on Venezuela Prison Riots

Victims, Victims Everywhere
Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez '13
The New York Times
January 31, 2013

Three years ago I was giving a ride home to the sister of my cousin’s girlfriend in Caracas, when we were violently kidnapped and held for ransom overnight.

I prefer not to dwell on the specifics of the experience: the hollow sound of an assault rifle tapping a car window, the voices of terrified loved ones negotiating my life over speakerphone. It could have been much worse.

Through a series of bizarre coincidences and lucky breaks, we emerged from the experience largely unharmed, before any money changed hands. And having since married my fellow hostage, I look forward to someday regaling our children with what is perhaps a uniquely Venezuelan “How I Met Your Mother” story.

But last week upon hearing news of an outbreak of violence at Uribana prison, about 275 kilometers west of Caracas — a phenomenon that, like kidnappings, has become all too common in Venezuela — one of the more surreal vignettes from that interminable night came back to mind.