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Mexico: Kidnapping of Vicente Fernandez Jr., brother and manager of singer Alejandro Fernandez, near Guadalajara

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 May 1999
Citation / Document Symbol MEX31998.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Mexico: Kidnapping of Vicente Fernandez Jr., brother and manager of singer Alejandro Fernandez, near Guadalajara, 1 May 1999, MEX31998.E, available at: [accessed 17 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Various reports indicate that Vicente Fernandez Abarca, son of famous Mexican ranchera song star Vicente Fernandez (also referred to as El Charro de Huentitán and El Chente), was kidnapped for ransom in 1998. Published reports indicating the exact date and place of his abduction could not be found among the sources consulted; however, various documents state that Vicente Fernandez Abarca, who was 34 years of age at the time of the kidnapping, was held for approximately four months, two of his fingers were cut off by the abductors, a ransom was paid, and the family subsequently moved to the United States.

One report states that the kidnapping lasted 121 days, adding that a ransom of US$3.2 million was dropped in a bundle from a small aeroplane near Ciudad Guzmán, in Jalisco state (La Jornada 21 Sep. 1998). Another report describes the kidnapping as a "4-month-long ordeal" in which kidnappers cut off two of their victim's fingers and obtained a US$3.2 million ransom (El Universal 26 Sep. 1998). An interview with the victim indicates that the kidnapping lasted 114 days, the first 55 days of which Vicente Fernandez Abarca was held in chains and with his eyes covered (La Jornada 25 Sep. 1998). The same report states that the ordeal lasted 60 days more than it should have, because a television channel broadcasted a report that stated the victim had been released and as a consequence the abductors broke off negotiations (ibid.). The report states that the father of the victim did not want to disclose the amount of money paid as ransom, and that he never received the fingers amputated from his son (ibid.). Reports state that the kidnapped, his two brothers (including Alejandro, who is also a singer), his father and their families abandoned their ranch near Guadalajara after the release of Vicente and relocated in the United States (ibid.; ibid. 21 Sep. 1998).

A 1997 biographical interview with Vicente Fernandez and his three sons (Vicente, Gerardo and Alejandro, in order of seniority) contains a reference to a management office of sons Vicente and Alejandro, the latter being a singer, and to duties on the family ranch performed by sons Gerardo and Vicente (Biografías Plata 19 June 1997).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please see below a list of additional sources consulted in researching this information request.


Biografías Plata/Radio Grupo Plata [Zacatecas, Zac.]. 19 June 1997. "Vicente Fernandez." [Internet] [Accessed 26 May 1999]

El Universal [Mexico City]. 26 September 1998. "Here, There & Everywhere." [Internet] [Accessed 26 May 1999]

La Jornada [Mexico City]. 25 September 1998. Fabrizio Leon. "A una noticia de 'el otro canal' le debo 60 días más de cautiverio." [Internet] [Accessed 26 May 1999]

_____. 21 September 1998. Fernando Figueroa. "La Ley de Herodes." [Internet] [Accessed 26 May 1999]

Additional Sources Consulted

El Informador [Guadalajara, Jal.]. Internet archives. 19-30 July 1998.

Mexico NewsPak [Austin, Tex.]. July-September 1998.

Electronic sources: IRB databases, REFWORLD, Internet, WNC.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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