Middlebury

Kidnapping negotiator, a Middlebury alumnus, abducted in Mexico

December 18, 2008

A U.S. anti-kidnapping expert who has negotiated the release of dozens of hostages in Latin America has been abducted by gunmen in Mexico.

Felix Batista, a 1977 graduate of Middlebury College who received an M.A. in Spanish from the summer Language Schools in 1991, was kidnapped December 10 as he stepped outside a restaurant to answer a phone call in the northern city of Saltillo.

When he was seized, Batista, a Cuban-American from Miami, was reportedly in Saltillo, in Coahuila state, to offer security seminars to business people, including advice on how to deal with kidnaps for ransom.

Charlie LeBlanc, president of Houston-based security firm ASI Global LLC, where Batista is a consultant, told the BBC: "We have notified the FBI and Mexican authorities, and they are working on the case. We are offering our support to the family and hoping for the best." He declined to say whether the kidnappers had demanded a ransom.

The U.S. embassy in Mexico City said it was investigating and would not comment further.

Felix Batista, 55, lives in Miami with his wife Lourdes Batista, who also received a master's degree in Spanish from the summer Language Schools, in 1981.

Read a 12/27 story from the Washington Post ... ]