The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Luis Diaz Returns to Liverpool Amidst Parents’ Kidnapping

AP Photo / Alastair Grant

Luis Diaz scored the late equalizer in his first appearance back with Liverpool F.C. after his parents were kidnapped in Colombia last Sunday, Nov. 5. In somber celebration of the goal, Luis lifted his jersey to reveal a shirt that said “Libertad para Papa” (Freedom for Papa).

Diaz, a forward, is a star player on the Colombian national soccer team. He signed a $67 million contract with Liverpool F.C. last year. 

Gunmen on motorbikes abducted both of Diaz’s parents in the small northern town of Barrancas, Columbia, on Oct. 28. Police rescued his mother within hours, but his father was held captive for 13 days and released on Nov. 10.

It has been confirmed that a Colombian guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army, known as the ELN, is behind the kidnapping. 

According to CNN, the ELN is one of the “oldest and largest” guerrilla groups still operating in Colombia. They recently struck a deal with the Colombian government, implementing a six-month ceasefire that began on Aug. 3 as an attempt to create peace within the country.

This year has seen a surge in kidnappings in Colombia; levels have doubled compared to the previous year. The victims of these kidnappings are overwhelmingly innocent civilians, who are then held for ransom money. 

In a statement released on Monday, Nov. 6, the ELN said they would comply with the release of Diaz’s father, provided that they are able to “avoid incidents with official forces,” demanding the departure of the presence of government troops on their territory, according to CNN. The groups offered further comment, saying that military operations “don’t allow” for the release of Diaz’s father. 

Following the kidnapping, Diaz took time off from the team, missing games against Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth. He has since returned to practice and was first seen back with the squad on Thursday, Oct. 2.

Diaz came off of the bench in the 83rd minute of the game, and, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, scored off of a Harvey Elliot cross to tie Luton Town 1-1. His timely goal staved off what would have been a major upset in the Premier League.

After the game, Diaz spoke out on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying, “This goal is for my father’s freedom and all the kidnapped in my country,” per CNN.

He also provided comment to reporters on the toll the kidnapping has taken on his family, per Al Jazeera

“My mother, my brothers and I are desperate, distressed and without words to describe what we are feeling. This suffering will only end when we have him back home. I beg you to release him immediately, respecting his integrity and ending this painful wait as soon as possible.”

Diaz’s teammate on the Columbian National Team, James Rodríguez, also spoke out on social media, according to CNN: 

“We’re with you @LuisFDiaz19 in these difficult moments. We ask for respect and solidarity […] Freedom for your dad and all captured people!”

The kidnapping has sparked multiple marches in Colombia advocating for Diaz’s father’s freedom. Organizations including Colombia’s Ombudsman’s Office, the Catholic Church and the International Red Cross have also stepped in to provide support in the search and with counseling.  

The Colombian National Police deployed 100 officers to find Diaz’s father, along with 120 soldiers; they offered the ELN 200 million pesos — around $48,000 — for his release, according to Vice.

Liverpool Manager Jürgen Klopp also offered comment on Diaz’s situation in the wake of his impressive return to the pitch.

“[It was] a wonderful moment, but it doesn’t change the situation. The most important thing is that his father gets released.”

Klopp noted that “positive” negotiations surrounding the release of Diaz’s father have been occurring. 

Liverpool faces Manchester City next on Saturday, Nov. 25, with Diaz expected to play.

More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Colgate Maroon-News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *