|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2010)|
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
Cecilia Cubas, 32, was abducted by gunmen two blocks from her home in Asunción on September 21, 2004, sparking a massive search by security forces who hoped to rescue her alive.
Her naked body was found in an underground chamber connected to tunnels running under the house and due to the state of decomposition had to be identified by a dental exam. She had been asphyxiated with adhesive tape.
The former president, a wealthy businessman who governed for less than a year between 1998 and 1999, paid a ransom of US$800.000 for his daughter's release in November 2004 after negotiating with her captors through e-mail. The kidnappers had initially demanded $5 million. However, they later told her father that the payment was merely a fine and cut off all communication.
Residents of Asunción had plastered "Free Cecilia" signs on buildings, houses and cars.
Among the information that was later released regarding the kidnapping of Miss Cubas, was the fact that the kidnappers had received training and support from the Colombian armed group FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia); the support of this group came via the "foreign minister" of the FARC, Rodrigo Granda. Osmar Martinez from the PPL (Partido Patria Libre), who was arrested as the main suspect for this crime, was the link with Granda.
The investigation into this kidnapping was conducted with the help of the Colombian attorney general's office.
NOTE FROM WIKILEAK CABLE:
Lugo privately told DCM April 17 (i.e., several days before his election), that he was convinced that corrupt elements of the police (if not certain Colorado politicians) had protected the PPL kidnappers, whom he said were responsible for the kidnapping and ultimate killing of Cecilia Cubas. He said a police officer came to him with information as to where Cubas was then being held. (Lugo was still Bishop of San Pedro at this time.) He said they jointly went to see the Interior Minister (Nelson Mora) the night of December 6–7, 2004, provided him the address—and even told him that a police officer (and possible suspect) lived next door to the house where Cubas was being held. Lugo said the Minister assured them he was already aware, and that "all was being taken care of." The police officer accompanying Lugo, however, was suddenly reassigned the next day. Lugo recalled that the Minister publicly declared "We know where you are" and gave the PPL "24 hours" to surrender—but no action was taken. (COMMENT: This statement is confirmed by contemporary press reports. END COMMENT.)
Cubas' body was only recovered in February 2006, from the same house Lugo says they had identified to the Interior Minister in December. Lugo told DCM he had recently had it confirmed to him that the PPL kidnappers had even used the car owned by their policeman neighbor. Lugo told DCM that though he did not have a complete understanding as to the extent of official (or semi-official) protection that had gone on, he was toying with the idea of a national inquiry into the case, should he become president, saying, "the people have a right to know." The Interior Minister and several dozen police officials were all sacked following the discovery of Cubas' body.