Colombia: ex-Farcs hostage Ingrid Betancourt wants to run for president

Hostage for six years of the FARC guerrillas, the Franco-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt has announced that she wants to take part in the presidential election scheduled for spring 2022 in Colombia.

Twenty years after her kidnapping, the Franco-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt, hostage for six years of the FARC guerrillas, announced on Tuesday her intention to take part in the presidential election scheduled for spring 2022 in Colombia.

“I will work tirelessly from now on, from sunrise to sunset, to be your president,” Ms. Betancourt said during a press conference.

At the head of the small environmentalist party Vert Oxygène, the ex-hostage, 59, will participate in a primary organized to decide between the candidates of a centrist coalition, the Coalition of Hope.

In the event of victory, Ms. Betancourt will therefore represent the center in the presidential election of May 29, a current which wants to be an alternative to face-to-face, structuring in Colombia, between the right in power and the left, represented by the former -mayor of Bogota and former guerrilla Gustavo Petro, today the favorite in the polls.

“For decades, we have only had bad options: far right, far left. The time has come to have a center option,” said the candidate, who has set herself the fight against terrorism as her goals. insecurity and pollution. “I believe in a world with a woman’s vision,” she added.

“Today I am here to finish what I started with many of you in 2002. With the conviction that Colombia is now ready to change course,” she said, alluding to his six years of detention in the jungle.

Kidnapped during a previous presidential campaign

Ms. Betancourt had been kidnapped by the Marxist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) while she was campaigning for the presidency. She was rescued during a military operation and has since lived abroad, regularly staying in Colombia where she often takes part in public debate.

The Franco-Colombian also spoke on Tuesday about the 36 million dollars in financial compensation ordered in early January by the American justice against the deceased FARC, for their responsibility in her kidnapping.

“We have sometimes taken the habit of thinking that asking for justice is abusive (…). I have come today to ask that every son, every daughter, every father, every mother be compensated, compensated and compensated”, has hammered the candidate.

A federal court in Pennsylvania (northeastern United States) ruled on January 4 that the ex-hostage’s son – born in 1988 from his first union with Frenchman Fabrice Delloye – “is entitled to compensation of 12 million before it is tripled with attorneys’ fees and costs,” or more than $36 million, according to his lawyers.

Lawrence Betancourt, also called Lorenzo, who has American nationality, had filed a civil complaint in the United States in June 2018 against 14 former FARC officials, most of whom are presumed dead today or still armed in the jungle. .

In 2010, Ms Betancourt demanded compensation from the Colombian state for failing to guarantee her safety, but she backed down in the face of criticism.

“I have been accused of having been ungrateful, opportunistic, greedy (…). But the system of corruption that reigns in our country only recognizes the rights of bandits”, she lambasted, saying to wait, like the other victims, “truth, justice and reparation” of the investigations carried out by the Peace Court, set up by the 2016 agreement which ended a conflict of more than half a century with the Marxist guerrillas.

According to this agreement, those who confess their crimes and repair the damage caused to war victims will be able to avoid prison. Otherwise, they risk sentences of up to 20 years in prison.


© Agence France-Presse

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