The wife of Rodolfo Cazares, a man who holds dual French-Mexican citizenship and was kidnapped last year by a drug cartel in Mexico, pleaded in an interview published in the French press Monday for her spouse's release.
Ludivine Barbier told the daily Le Parisien that her husband's case was not getting any attention in France.
"He is the eighth Frenchman kidnapped in the world, but officially there are no more than seven. He is the forgotten captive. I want all of France to know," the 32-year-old Barbier told the newspaper.
Cazares, a 36-year-old band leader who married Barbier in 2006 and obtained French citizenship last year, was kidnapped on July 9, 2011, in Matamoros, a border city in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
The couple was dining at the house owned by Cazares's parents when between six and eight gunmen wielding assault rifles burst into the residence, tied them up and blindfolded them.
A total of 18 people were kidnapped that night, with the Gulf drug cartel supposedly behind the abductions.
Cazares was apparently kidnapped because of his grandfather's mistress, whose sons have links to a rival drug cartel, the newspaper said.
The kidnappers released the women and children three days later, but Rodolfo and his father are still being held captive.
The family paid ransom of $100,000 but has not heard from the kidnappers since late July 2011.
Mexican authorities "are not interested" in the case and French officials asked that the matter not be publicized in the media, "undoubtedly because of the case of Florence Cassez, which already caused tensions between France and Mexico," Barbier said.
The case of Cassez, a Frenchwoman convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to 60 years in prison in Mexico, led to some sharp exchanges last year between Paris and Mexico City.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy's statements about the Cassez case caused a diplomatic rift with Mexico, especially his call in February 2011 to dedicate the "Year of Mexico," a series of more than 350 art, cultural and business events scheduled to be held in France, to the jailed Frenchwoman.
Barbier is now talking to the media, discussing the kidnapping 15 months ago and calling for more to be done to win her husband's freedom.
The Frenchwoman hopes to use Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto's meeting on Wednesday with French President Francois Hollande in Paris to draw media attention to the case.
"Francois Hollande has to talk to him about Rodolfo. He has the media to react," Barbier said. EFE