Liverpool Striker Luis Diaz’s Dad Recounts Kidnapping After Walking Too Much

This emotional and harrowing account from Luis Manuel Diaz, the father of Liverpool striker Luis Diaz, sheds light on the ordeal he endured after being held hostage by guerrillas in Colombia. His tearful recount of being forced to walk “too much” and surviving almost 12 days without sleep shows the immense physical and mental challenges he faced during his captivity.

His wife, Cilenis Marulanda, who was also briefly taken by the same guerrillas, provided loving support to her husband as he shared the difficult experience. The relief and joy of his liberation were evident as neighbors celebrated outside his home upon his return.

Diaz’s hope for his release to contribute to “peace in Colombia” underscores the broader implications of kidnappings in the country. It threatens to derail high-stakes peace negotiations between the ELN and the government, further emphasizing the urgency of addressing this issue as part of the peace process.

The personal sacrifices made by Luis Manuel Diaz in support of his son’s football career, such as selling food to finance his son’s trips, illustrate the resilience and determination that has led to his son’s success. Amidst the backdrop of this emotional account, the story highlights the ongoing challenges and aspirations of a family deeply rooted in Colombian society.

The struggle to achieve peace in Colombia, while also addressing the impacts of long-standing conflicts, serves as a sobering reminder of the complexities and importance of reconciliation in the country.
Luis Manuel Diaz, father of Liverpool striker Luis Diaz, resolutely recounted on Friday his harrowing ordeal as a hostage in a mountainous region of Colombia. Diaz, whose liberation was secured on Thursday following global appeals for his release, appeared emotion-driven and detailed the toll on his body as he conveyed his experience to reporters at his home in northern Colombia.

Present at the press conference was Diaz’s wife Cilenis Marulanda, who lovingly comforted him as he emotionally recounted his time in captivity. Standing behind them were golden balloons reading “Welcome Mane,” Diaz’s nickname in Spanish. The footballer’s father, whose strained movements reflected his ordeal, expressed that he was not subjected to maltreatment by his captors despite enduring almost 12 days without sleep while navigating the treacherous mountain terrain.

Diaz and his wife were taken by armed men while at a gas station in Barrancas, leading to Marulanda’s prompt rescue by authorities. Subsequently, an extensive search operation, involving more than 250 soldiers, was launched to bring Diaz home safely. Following several days of intense negotiations, the ELN unit responsible for Diaz’s abduction eventually handed him over to humanitarian workers, and he was later flown to the city of Valledupar.

Luis Manuel Diaz, founder of a local football academy, has played a pivotal role in nurturing his son’s career in professional football. His son, who has fond memories of their time together, has represented his country on numerous occasions and has ascended to the top ranks of world football. The abduction, a grim reminder of Colombia’s tumultuous past, risks disrupting ongoing peace discussions between the government and the ELN, amid ongoing calls for the successful negotiation of freedom for all hostages in the country.

The profound hope for peace in Colombia and the eventual liberation of all hostages was voiced by the resilient Diaz, who is now trying to overcome the torment of his captivity. While Diaz remains committed to peace and freedom in his country, the ELN has adamantly rejected any imposed conditions, maintaining a stance of uncompromising defiance. As negotiations continue, Diaz’s release undoubtedly marks a step forward for Colombia, albeit amid continuing challenges.

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