Mother of Elias Diaz Kidnapped in Venezuela

Multiple media reports out of Venezuela today confirm that the 72-year-old mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz has been kidnapped. According to the reports, three heavily armed gunmen broke into her house at 8 AM local time while she was sleeping and wrapped her up in a sheet, putting her in a van. Witnesses were able to get a license plate from the van and authorities have been searching for her since.

A brother of Diaz was home at the time and was not the target of the kidnapping. Elias Diaz has another brother named Emison Soto, who played for the DSL Pirates last year. He was not at the home at the time of the incident.

Pirates President Frank Coonelly issued a statement on behalf of the team:

“We are all shocked and deeply concerned for Elias’ mother, as well as for Elias and his entire family. We have Elias’ mom and Elias’ entire family in our prayers. We are using all of the resources available at the Pirates and Major League Baseball to support Elias and his family during this incredibly difficult time. As we work with authorities on his mom’s safe return, we will withhold further comment and ask that you please respect the family’s need for privacy.”

UPDATE: In case you missed it from Twitter…

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Chuck C

And this thread is about what????


On a political note, this is what happens when a country is allowed to go far LEFT in the name of socialism, making ruin of the oil and other natural resources that Venezuela has, or rather HAD!
Pray that the Diaz family comes through this terrorist plot and the international criminals are caught and punished!

Blaine Huff

Any predictions as to when Norway and Sweden will go through this turmoil?

Scott K

Norway tax rate is 45% of GDP. Nearly twice the rate of USA.

This is your idea of economic nirvana?

Blaine Huff

At no point did I claim to be an advocate of socialism or capitalism…or any other -ism.

The original comment was that, as a country moves more toward socialism, it becomes more like what Venezuela is today.

I was simply pointing out this is untrue. There are many stable countries that are relatively far along on the socialism spectrum.


Today Sweden is having significant problems with their immigrant Muslim population. It’s easy to find Internet references on this.

Blaine Huff

Significant? No, not really.

And what does this have to do with socialism?

Are Muslims causing unrest in Venezuela?

Are Muslims indicative or socialism…or is it the other way around? Please elucidate.


The fact that the troublemakers are Muslim isn’t the point or relevant to the argument, it was a simple descriptor. It is the fact that an immigrant group of a different culture has arrived to take advantage of the social welfare structure without buying into the culture at large. Sweden used to “work” because it was a small homogenous population where everyone worked hard and bought into the high tax rates/ large social services sector type of social contract. The “applecart is upset” now, and similar social forces to Germany, Hungary and many other central European countries are now forming.
The larger point is that Norway and Sweden are predominately a capitalist societies with high tax rates and high spending on social services, but with respect for private property and the rule of law. That is a very different construct than what Chavez and Maduro are moving Venezuela towards.

Blaine Huff

No, the larger point is that Venezuela was/is a totalitarian system. That, and that alone, is the biggest difference between it and Sweden.

Bill Kline

Out of curiosity do you know if she’s his birth mother?

Edward C

Where’s Ross Perot when you need him.


Socialism sucks! End of story.

Blaine Huff

Every -ism sucks.


There is one ism that is clearly superior to the other isms.

Blaine Huff

Does it start with a “j” and has only four letters?


Seems like everyone should know that, when a person comes from a 3rd world country to the US and starts making a lot of money (at least by their standards), and getting some measure of celebrity, that person’s family are going to become targets for extortion, blackmail, etc. I’m not saying the US is responsible, but for heaven’s sake, when we take someone in as a legal alien, we should bring that person’s immediate family in, too. Families come together if that is their desire. Period. Then this stuff wouldn’t happen to decent men just trying to play the game they love and provide a better life for themselves and their families. My prayers are with Elias, his mother and his family.


Pretty tough to make that call. Perhaps they choose to stay. Look at the players that go back home every year. Where do you find jobs for them. The players are very often on temporary visas and are not guaranteed re entry. (Kang)


I have family on my wife’s side still in the country.

We’ve talked about pooling money together to get them out, but the father refuses to accept as a matter of pride. Would rather die fighting back than give up his country.

Daryl Restly

I don’t know how much the Pirates organization can do to assist Diaz in a safe return of his mother and ultimately getting both of them out of Venezuela and into the United States. Thoughts and prayers for Diaz and his family during this difficult time. I hate to politicize this but I’d much rather see the Pirates put their effort towards getting Diaz and his mother to the U.S. safely, then ever see Kang set foot in the U.S., let alone play for the Pirates, simply because he was a dumbass.

Scott K

Takes a special kind of evil person to participate in the kidnapping of a 72-year old woman.

Sad an elderly woman can’t live peacefully in her home in this country, just because her son happens to be in MLB. Chavez, his successor, and their supporters have turned this country into a living nightmare.

Praying for her safe return.

Tim S

I am a little surprised by his mother’s age. What a terrible thing.


Man, this is just terrible….Side note – Mom’s 72, have to wonder if Elias is really 27.

Travis P

Hurdle is 60…he has a 15 yr old and a middle school son. We should probably check their ages too.


A bit different for women. Quite often menopause affects childbearing in the mid 40s, certainly by 50 in most cases.


Yo. My wife, 3 years ago, delivered a beautiful baby girl at 45.5 years of age. It can happen. Not offended. Just sayin’! 🙂


I thought the same thing! But still terrible news. Hope she is okay.


comment image


Thank the lord our government is actively working to curtail such unsafe practices from these shithole countries.

Kevin O

I just want to say i love you guys (in an admiration of an economics conversation on a baseball platform kind of way) and would enjoy discussing economics, as well as Pirates baseball, in Bradenton this spring if anyone will be in the area for a few beer?. I’ve been a subscriber for a few years and am fortunate enough to have recently moved to FLA. Let me know if anyone will be around.
*Thoughts and prayers to Elias, mother, and family.


Wish I could make it down; enjoy!

Scott K

You’re not seriously blaming our country, and our politicians, for the problems which exist in Venezuela?

The truth is poverty, and the pain and suffering associated with it, has been the norm in recorded history. The Capitalist system with limited government involvement through regulation and taxation is the primary reason our country is spared from this type of reality.


The problems in China, India, and Russia all existed before they started switching to a larger Capitalist society. You can’t blame Capitalism for that. Just because you switch to a Capitalist society is not going to magically get rid of poverty over night. It takes time to decrease poverty.

When I was in India last month there were news reports of how even though their GDP was at 7.6, and poverty had made huge drops, down from over 25% to 14% poverty.
Poverty was still a big problem in India. The best way to solve poverty is a strong economy, and the best way to a strong economy is thru Capitalism.

The left always talks about Capitalism reaching an endpoint of money and resources, but when in history has that happened with a Capitalist country. A Capitalist country will continue to adapt as things change. Because no one including the corporations wants to run out of money. The only thing a Capitalist country has to fear is a government that becomes too intrusive and interferes too much with the Capitalist economy.


No sir. I’m blaming roughly half of our country for actively working to eliminate or greatly reduce *legal* means for hard working people with families in dire situations from bettering their lives in our great nation.

NorCal Buc

Though the US pales in quality of life barometers with the ‘mixed socialistic-capitalism’ of all other industrial societies.

Can America simply put “liberty and justice for all” ahead of the corporate profit motive?

Sean M

Liberty and half my paycheck


Figures from a Californian, and I live in California. I just don’t buy the lies.


Your first sentence isn’t true. Check out for instance this link from the Economist magazine:
where the USA ranks 13 of 111 nations ranked, all of whom have a mixed economy of one form or another. Or any of a number of other surveys which tell the same story. The countries that rank higher than the US are generally small, with uniform populations and high per capita GDP.
As for your second sentence, liberty and justice prosper best where power is most diffusely spread. That occurs when both Government and Corporations are small, with little ability to influence the larger workings of society.

Scott K

I would staunchly agree with your first point, but not your second.

Both large and small corporations have been, and will continue to be, integral to the economic success of our country.


The power accruing to Google, to Amazon, to Facebook etc., with their assaults on privacy and ultimately freedom represent among the most dangerous trends on the planet. Whenever monopolies form, whether public or private, the abuse of power is sure to follow as those with power serve their own interests at the expense of those around them.

Ken N

Is the power of the new tech companies greater than that accumulated by Standard Oil, US Steel, and the various RRs during the Guilded era? I think not. Be calm, the next big thing is around the corner. We always overvalue the current situation without concern for history.


I think the power of the new monopolies is more insidious if not as seemingly overt as the abuses of the Guilded Age. I would welcome an exercise of Anti-Trust action by the Government against those firms to break them up into smaller entities. Back in the day the actions were against the oil, steel and railroad barons. Later it was the telecoms. Today the Internet barons need to be both broken up into smaller entities and regulated as to what data they can collect and what they can use the data for. Even the EU has taken steps in this direction. Past time for the USA to take action.


I mean it *literally* took large-scale, sometimes bloody labor battles to break up the massive inequality built at the top during the Gilded Era so I sure as hell hope that’s not a prelude to current times.

Scott K

Big Brother is definitely in cahoots with the companies you mentioned to monitor our every move.

Not really dangerous to boring old me. But if I were nefarious by nature, I’d be more concerned.


I think you need to check into this further, you will become more alarmed.

Scott K

You’re undoubtedly correct.


You don’t have to be nefarious for that to hurt you. The existence of information on you–however innocent–if put into the wrong hands could lead to manipulation. This could be something as overtly violent as kidnapping a loved one, or something as subtle as leveraging an interest against you to get something out of you, or generating targeted misinformation to you to keep you from making the best possible decision for you.


Our country isn’t spared by capitalism. Our country is spared by not having one pure economic system and by not being a dictatorship. We aren’t a strict capitalism. We never have been. And we never should be. Hybrid models always work best because they afford the most flexibility to serve *people* rather than ideals.

Any economic philosophy enacted by a centralized power is going to fail. Any one. This can happen with capitalism as well when it reaches its natural end point of money and resources aggregating in a small space (a risk which is growing in this country as we increasingly favor the philosophy of capitalism over best serving our people). It’s just that instead of a government controlling everyone, it’s a corporation.

But anywhere there’s poverty, there’s desperation, and there’s violence. Kidnapping happens here, too, despite our country being considerably healthier than Venezuela, because we also have desperate poor and gangs who can control them. And there are sickos everywhere who just enjoy doing this sort of thing.

What NMR, I suspect, is getting at, is that this could have been avoided if Diaz could have just brought his family, but we’ve got this ridiculous notion of making immigration an absurdly difficult process to “protect our interests” or whatever.

Sean M

It’s dumb what he’s getting at. Just as easy, the criminals immigrate over here and kidnap his daughter. People that tend to work HARD to go thru the “difficult process” don’t really commit crime.
Being above the Mason Dixon-Line your really not exposed to serious criminal element. Not too many Haitian gangs causing trouble in the Burg tonite. Thank god Jimmy Carter welcomed all those criminals in Pennsylvania 38 years ago. Scarface

Scott K

Please site for me an example of a country which has failed economically because money aggregating into the hands of a “too large” privately held corporation.

Whereas, Venezuela is just the latest in a long line of nations who have gone broke due to citizens being sold on the idea of prosperity for all by spreading the wealth equitably.


India hasn’t failed, but it’s in dire straits. Russia has a deeply corrupt capitalist system. China has rampant poverty and nightmarish work conditions. Hong Kong is the same story. Somalia is completely tax-free and also a horrible place to be anything but one of the few very rich. Honduras is a capitalist nation and wildly violent. Global capitalism is extremely damaging to all poor countries, as well, since they have no opportunity to even begin to recover given their lack of resources which aren’t already being exploited by richer nations (and that includes the humans).

And honestly, it’s not like the U.S. itself is even that great an example of the triumphs of capitalism. It’s not dystopian or anything, but it’s very rough on the poor, and a few corporations have pretty complete control over our laws, our decisions in foreign policy, and the quality of life anyone who isn’t among the very rich can expect or enjoy. This is a violent country, too, littered with gangs and cartels and domestic terrorists.

Capitalism is fine for what it’s fine for. Just like any other philosophy is fine for what it’s fine for. But it’s not universal, again just like every other philosophy.

Chuck C

corporate capitalism


You are delusional if you think China, Russia, and some of the others have capitalist systems.


It’s also just as fair to challenge the idea that the U.S. is a strictly capitalist economy. It’s not. And it shouldn’t be. Moving toward such an economy in recent decades has caused enormous harm to the poor and sick, skyrocketed the deficit, and hasn’t done any more to grow the economy than the more socialist policies of the 30s-70s, I think it’s entirely fair to point out.


You can’t eliminate China, Russia, and India because their capitalist models are enforced by corrupt governments. They exist, and their markets are capitalist, and they’re still corrupt and harmful. They serve as examples that any economic model can be abused by those who have power to the detriment of the people.

But Somalia is an anarcho-communist state. It’s the most extreme possible form of capitalism imaginable. And it’s hell. Hong Kong is a famously laissez-faire capitalism (like, taught in Econ classes famous), and it’s characterized by brutal work conditions.

Capitalism is a fantastic model for fledgling markets, and nonessential consumer markets, but when it’s applied to everything, it becomes harmful. So let capitalism regulate naturally what it handles well, but there’s no reason anyone should be profiting off of people being sick or imprisoned, and profit should probably also stay out of things like education as well. Health and education are essential services which can become cost-prohibitive, and financially incentivizing the imprisonment of citizens is morally repugnant. Capitalism is a powerful tool, but powerful tools are dangerous, and it needs to be handled properly.


I’d love to read a short definition of capitalism from you. Given your comments above you seem to be all over the map concerning what capitalism actually is. And you tar capitalism with the abuses that come from the dark side of human nature.
Profits serve a valuable function as a market signal directing where future investment should go. They aren’t inherently evil in and of themselves. Investment capital seeks the greatest return, which increases supply of goods and services directly where the market is telling the world that more goods and services are desired. The capitalist system which allows profits is vastly superior to any socialist system in directing capital to the solution of problems the people want solved.
Where there is free movement of capital and private ownership of property society functions most efficiently to solve social ills. Where there is competition prices tend to fall, and quality of goods and services goes up. It’s all to the good. And that occurs in health and education as well as in “nonessential consumer markets”.

Blaine Huff

Ah, I remember reading my first Ayn Rand book, too.

Scott K

You should try Milton Friedman or Thomas Sowell if you want a serious lesson on Economics.


I’ve never read an Ayn Rand book.

Blaine Huff

You haven’t missed much…except a kindred spirit.


Your “kindred spirit” comment prompted me to read the Wikipedia article on Ayn Rand. I must say, I strongly disagree with you. Other than an agreement about the efficacy of capitalism as an economic system I don’t think that I agree with any other significant idea of Rand’s. We come from diametrically opposite intellectual homes. She was an atheist. I am an ardent believer in God. She promoted the virtue of selfishness, I advocate the virtue of selflessness. I could go on, but I am sure that you get the point.


Look at recent history of China and Russia. They failed as Communist countries and the elite still control everything failing to provide freedom or opportunity for the masses.


The concept of checks and balances is a good one. Unfortunately the history of the USA shows definitively that even with a relatively good start, there really is no effective check against the growth of the tyranny of concentrations of power, most notably in the government.


Didn’t Wilson Ramos suffer something similar?


This kind of thing has been a problem in Venezuela for years with athletes that make lots of money, by their standards. Wilson Ramos, Victor Zambrano’s mother, Ugueth Urbina’s mother, Yorvit Torrealba’s son, Brayan Villarreal’s family. This has been a too often occurrence. Nothing is going to change until the government in Venezuela makes a drastic change.

Daniel D

Yep. Except that Ramos himself was kidnapped rather then a family member.


wow! I remember now.


This is horrible news. I hope they get her back in good shape and short order.

Daniel F

Crap, please keep us updated.

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