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He was kidnapped for 11 months, yet managed to forgive his captors

2015-08-28

When it comes to Venezuela, it's usually politics that take center stage abroad. International cameras are always rolling, covering political rivalries and even protests.  

But nationally, there's a violent problem the country is dealing with. A problem, German Garcia Velutini knows all to well. In 2009 he was kidnapped and thrown into an unrecognizable room. 

GERMAN GARCIA VELUTINI
Kidnapping Victim (Venezuela) 
"It was such a small room that I literally touched the walls when I stretched out my arms. I could only take three steps at a time. Cameras were installed to record my every move.” 

He shared his story in the annual Rimini meeting in Italy. For eleven months the financial bank director was held against his will by armed men who always had their faces covered. 

GERMAN GARCIA VELUTINI
Kidnapping Victim (Venezuela) 
"I asked my kidnappers for a Bible and they gave me one. I was completely alone. I started reading it and over time it became my companion.  It gave me a type of freedom that my kidnappers couldn't take away.” 

His Catholic faith, he says, was key in helping him survive the nightmare. After almost a year he was set free. He even managed to forgive his captors. He does admit though that forgiveness is an ongoing process. 

During his recent stay to Italy, he visited a prison. A random inmate reached out to him. 

GERMAN GARCIA VELUTINI
Kidnapping Victim (Venezuela) 
"This  prisoner asked me for forgiveness. He didn't kidnap me, but he did kidnap a bank executive, which is my same profession. It helped me take a step forward in forgiveness. I can't just say that I forgive my kidnappers in theory, because I  experienced something concrete. Here was a prisoner who in essence kidnapped a colleague of mine, but that victim had died- and I am still here.” 

He says he tries not to delve into questioning why it all happened to him and why his family had to go through all that pain. That he says, would be focusing on the past. His freedom and faith has taught him that time is precious and  it's all about looking forward. 


KLH
Rimini 
JM
-PR
UPATO