Former Mexican presidential candidate Diego Fernandez de Cevallos has been freed by his kidnappers and is safe at home, seven months after being kidnapped.
"First I have to tell you that I thank God and the Virgin for the help they gave me minute by minute during the past seven months," he said in his house in Mexico City on Monday, AP reported. "I'm strong and my life will continue the same."
The 68-year-old Mexican political power broker was abducted on May 14 near his ranch in Mexico's central state of Queretaro.
Five days later, his captors released photos of a blindfolded, grim-faced, bare-chested man who greatly resembled Fernandez. The move was apparently meant to put pressure on the politician's family to pay a ransom for his release.
Local news media reported in October that the family paid more than $20 million in ransom, though the family never confirmed the report.
His car was found with some of his belongings inside and blood on a pair of scissors thrown on the ground nearby.
Fernandez, a member of President Felipe Calderon's National Action Party (PAN), is known as "El Jefe Diego" or "Diego the Boss." He emerged from relative obscurity during the 1994 presidential election, which he lost to Ernesto Zedillo.
He has been one of the most influential players in his party and Mexican politics over the past two decades.
Kidnapping of executives, public officials, and ordinary citizens for ransom is rife in Mexico. The abductions often end in the deaths of victims.