The kidnapping of a soap opera actor shocks Mexican celebrities
Although the popular actor Alejandro Sandí has already been rescued along with a French businessman, the "mediatic" kidnapping has opened the debate on the growing insecurity in Mexico.
It happened around eight in the morning last Sunday in Nevado Toluca, a national park near Mexico City that every weekend is visited by thousands of people. The group of kidnappers made the two vans stop. At the wheel of one of them were actresses Esmeralda Ugalde and Vanessa Arias, along with soap opera actor Alejandro Sandí (Sr. Avila, in HBO Latin America and La Rosa de Guadalupe). In the other was a group of French tourists.
Both actresses were stunned when armed men took the actor and the French businessman Frédéric Michel, who, according to the French press, must have been mistaken for someone else, since the main target of the kidnapping was Sandí. They also stole all their belongings and Arias' truck.
It was the women who reported the kidnapping to the authorities and that same night they uploaded a video in which, dismayed, they shared what had happened.
Una publicación compartida por Esmeralda Ugalde (@esmeoficial) el
Meanwhile, the networks were boiling with indignant comments from Mexican entertainment personalities fed up with the country's lack of security and the increase in celebrity burglaries and kidnappings, which in the last year alone is approaching 1,700, according to Alto al Secuestro.
That includes the kidnapping of Iran Castillo, also an actress of soap operas, whose captors waited for her to leave the theater and held her for four days, or that of footballer Alan Pulido, who managed to disarm his attackers and escape. There also have been break-ins in the homes of famous people, like the producer Juan Osorio or the son of Susana Zabaleta, who was the victim of a violent robbery.
However, in the case of Sandí and Michel, the agents were able to negotiate their ransom the next day, although Reforma sources reported that the kidnappers, who do not appear to be part of any organized crime gang, received about 30,000 pesos (1,500 USD) for releasing them.
Some, like television presenter Adal Ramones, who was also kidnapped, point out how emotionally difficult these experiences are. If you get out unscathed, "the police begin to put you in doubt whether they are your family or your workers," or it could be the authorities who are in cahoots with the criminals. And others, like producer Emmanuel Duprez, has no hesitation in expressing his doubts about the "strange" kidnapping of Sandí, both because of the small sum of the ransom and because of how he was taken:
"Why would the aggressors take the only man on board and, honestly, the least famous?" he said.
Beyond all speculation, in the country, there is a kidnapping every five hours and it does not only affect wealthy people or their acquaintances. These media cases, though, have forced us to account for an increasingly difficult and real social and political context. Not a soap opera.