Canadian parliament member recalls his kidnapping twenty years ago in Ecuador

Posted on April 30, 2016 • Filed under: Crime, Ecuador, Ecuador Emergency Burgess reported the beheading of Canadian hostage John Ridsdel this week in the Philippines has brought back disturbing memories for one member of Parliament. Nathan Cullen, the NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, was kidnapped at gunpoint while working with a small NGO in Ecuador more than 20 years ago.

Cullen and his colleagues were helping the people of an isolated community develop alternatives to clear cut logging when the hostage-takers abducted him and others working with the NGO.

“They were trying to rattle (us), and find out if we had money there and then it progressed to what they would do next. and it was just awful things,” recalled Cullen.

“Yah, some terrible things…mock rapes of the women. Russian roulette, trying to mess people up enough to get answers to things that we just didn’t have answers for,” he said.
‘He’s got, he had kids’

Cullen described how he was hog-tied and dragged through the mud toward a canoe. “They were taking me away to be the main hostage for ransom,” Cullen said. But before that could happen, the director of the NGO convinced the kidnappers to take him instead.

“He said ‘it would be a bad idea to take the Westerner, involve Interpol,'” Cullen said. “It was this long, protracted fight, and argument and negotiation and I can remember thinking — ‘what’s he doing?…he’s got, he had kids.'”

“I tried to talk (him) out of it, and say ‘you know, not a good idea, you’ve got young kids,'” said Cullen. “He was the director so I think he felt that was his responsibility.”

As a result Cullen said he only spent about 14 hours in captivity himself. The director was taken across the border and forced to endure being tied to a pole in the rainforest for three months. “He was pretty wrecked,” Cullen said. “I don’t think you come off that too well. It was an awful, awful experience.” Read Article


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