Directory Free Newsletter Contact Log in
European-American Topics - Politics - Ingrid Betancourt


Ingrid Betancourt to Be Free Soon?
By Theda Braddock, Correspondent in Paris, France

Posted December 19, 2007


Ingrid Betancourt



     Will she finally be freed? It’s the question everyone in France has been asking for the past few weeks regarding Ingrid Betancourt, the Franco-Columbian senator captured over 5 years ago. On December 5 President Nicolas Sarkozy reiterated his promise to bring her home, this time stating that it was his ‘dream’ to have her back in France before Christmas. 

     Several weeks ago the FARC, the Columbian guerilla faction responsible for her detainment, released videos of several hostages, among them Ingrid Betancourt who’s skeletal and distressed appearance initiated a new flood of worry about her conditions. Sarkozy described her as “a women nearing the end of her strength” She also wrote a letter dated October 24 to her family stating that she and her fellow hostages were ‘living like the dead’ and affirming her affection for France.   

     Support has been never ending for the victim, with the ‘Hotel de Ville’ (city hall) of Paris even hanging two enormous banners calling for her release.  Sarkozy recognized this in a televised address to the FARC that was also broadcasted on Radio France International, “France will not forget you…I’m begging you to keep confidence. We will get there. You need to hold on because your family is waiting for you.” in what he called a “message of solidarity”.  

     Negotiations have been heating up as President Sarkozy continues discussions with the Columbian president Alvaro Uribe.  Uribe has so far become more lenient on the FARC’s demand for its own zone in Columbia but refuses to give too much leeway.  He broke off discussions with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez last month when Chavez overstepped the line and initiated contact directly with FARC leaders. Sarkozy has said he is prepared to speak to whomever necessary to get the job done.  

     Meanwhile Manuel Marulanda Velez, leader of the FARC repeated his demands in a statement the following day calling for an extended zone and the release of FARC prisoners.  He insisted that “an exchange is an exchange”, that this wasn’t a “system of favors”.  He went on to say that he didn’t want to lose credibility and that conditions had to be met on all sides.  Both the FARC and Uribe have invited Sarkozy to come to Columbia, an offer he has not ruled out, insisting he is prepared to do whatever is necessary. 

     In a recent twist FARC members have decided to release three of the hostages, including Betancourt’s assistant to Chavez or another person he designates. The news, announced December 19 seems ever more promising, a hope that Ingrid will soon be back in France, before Christmas.


© 2006 All content property of European Weekly unless where otherwise accredited