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Jacob Ostreicher, Held Captive in Bolivia, Has Arrived in America

December 16, 2013 6:04 pm 12 comments

Jacob Ostreicher. Photo: Judea1/Wikimedia Commons.

Jacob Ostreicher, an Orthodox Jewish American held captive in Bolivia since June 2011 has made his way to the United States, The Algemeiner has confirmed.

A source familiar with efforts to have the businessman released confirmed that an “operation” took place Sunday night that resulted in Ostreicher’s return to his family.

In an email circulated to friends and supporters, his nephew Moshe confirmed the news as well.

“With happiness, we are informing the community of Israel that our dear uncle… has already left the iron curtain in Bolivia, and is now, with G-d’s great mercy, here in America,” Moshe wrote.

Jewish leaders, some of whom have actively campaigned for his release, reacted to the news Monday afternoon.

“With thanks to G-d, I am *thrilled* that Jacob Ostreicher is finally home in America!,” tweeted Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

Councilman David Greenfield said “American Jews are celebrating the news that Jacob Ostreicher, who was falsely imprisoned since June 2011 in Bolivia, is now back home in NY.”

Ostreicher was arrested in Santa Cruz, Bolivia while overseeing a rice growing venture he had invested in. He has never been formally charged, and has always maintained his innocence, calling allegations against him of money laundering and criminal organization “the scam of the century.”

In an interview with The Algemeiner last year Ostreicher’s wife, Miriam Ungar, said that the arrest may have been sparked by the success of her husband’s business enterprise.

“I believe that they [Bolivian government] got wind that this would be a successful business venture. He had 50 million pounds of rice harvested and when they found out… they said ‘what can we do about this?,'” she said at the time.

Last December Ostreicher was released on bail by the Bolivian government, but had been held since that time under house arrest.

A number of prominent officials campaigned for Ostreicher’s release, including New York Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ).


  • Mark D. Williams

    The President Obama references are unnecessary. It is great that a US/Israeli citizen is back home, and apparently alright. That is the news and it is great news. None of us know what the government was doing on the behalf of Mr. Ostreicher since his incarceration. Whomever got this done had to deal with layers of “players/payees”. This take time (certainly not two years). Businesses chancing interactions within mafia-states (China, N. Korea….Bolivia?) need to be very careful.

  • I’ve been following Jacob’s ordeal and am very glad he made it back home. Thank you Jacob for staying strong and sorry my country let you down. Mike P. – Bolivians like Jews. Don’t be an ass!! They just get corrupted with money. You are right though. It is not a good place for tourism and foreign investment while Evo Morales surrounds himself with morons.

  • Why no mention of Sean Penn? He was instrumental in getting him released to house arrest, etc.

  • I’m so shocked, excited,ecstatic and beyond amazed. I’m literally in tears and about to throw up. I have been praying (with about a gazillion other people) but I thought it was all but over. I have been devastated…
    Talk about miraculous. This man wasn’t going to come back until he was fully exonerated in EVERYONE’S eyes. And yet, God has done this miracle.
    I should not be surprised one bit. I’ve seen God do miracles. Some things are coincidences, this is not. God can make whatever the heck He desires for whatever reasons He decides through whoEVER He decides.
    He is the one who chose to give Jacob freedom and grace and most of all an amazing chance at being reunited with his family for a while longer here on this earth. Thank you God. My heart is full.

  • Thanks be to G-d that this man has been able to get out of Bolivia. I think I’ll just avoid that country all together since they obviously don’t appreciate the help that someone investing in their country brings to them. I remember hearing Mr. Ostreicher’s little grandson asking for his “Zayde.” Praise the Lord that the captive has been freed, and he’s back home now enjoying family.

  • Age-old anti-Semitic government behavior: “hey, this Jewish guy made some money. Let’s steal it.”

    Guess what, Bolivia, I’m telling all of my friends never to do business in Bolivia and never to travel to Bolivia.

    I hope this costs you 100 times whatever you stole.

  • I understand that Chabad in Bolivia did the main work, but now everyone will jump on the band wagon to day that did it.

    • And perhaps with the financial backing of Satmar, but like usual no one will admit it. It’s about time to be honest!

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    Obama will likely try to send him back.

    • That is a stupid, ignorant, and untrue statement. Grow up.

      • Whether the statement is true or not nobody would have even considered making such a statement against previous presidents who were ardent supporters of freedom, the democratic process and personal liberties. This president has cozied up to the vermin of the earth and has eroded out fundamental freedoms in this country. Even his own supporters know it its so blatant.

        • Ezra, I think you’re overlooking at least one POTUS by the name of FDR who refused to allow Jews trying to escape the Nazis to land in the US and later refused to order the destruction of the concentration camps like Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen because he didn’t consider it to be a priority of the war effort. Being elected President doesn’t automatically ensure one’s being brilliant nor compassionate, unfortunately.

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