Patrick Struebi was eager to fly home to Switzerland for one of his periodic visits after spending eight years in Mexico establishing Fairtrasa®, one of the world’s largest fair trade organizations for avocados and other fruits from Latin America.
It was the morning of January 28, 2011. Struebi’s then-girlfriend had come to pick him up at his home, to drive him to the bus station, from where he planned to go to Mexico City to take the plane back home.
As he put the bags in the trunk, two cars suddenly blocked the driveway, and two masked men with guns threw him into one of the cars and whisked him away in a highly orchestrated kidnapping-for-ransom plot.
Thrown on the floor of a cold cellar, masked and handcuffed, and in the clutches of ruthless Mexican gangsters who made him watch videos of their violent killings, Struebi somehow kept his cool and tried to figure a way out.
He was released after five days of intense joint negotiations by the Mexican and Swiss governments with the gangsters and a massive ransom payment (with a twist).
Struebi shared his story for the first time with Chitra Ragavan in the ‘When it Mattered’ podcast.
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