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Betancourt: 'I’m not saying I won’t run for the presidency'

Latest update : 2008-07-07

In an interview with FRANCE 24 Ingrid Betancourt did not rule out the possibility of one day running for the presidency of Colombia. She said for now her only ambition is “to serve.”

Click here to view our special report: 'Ingrid Betancourt rescued'



Future plans

“Being in the jungle for seven years gave me another perspective.  Being president is great - but it’s not so great, after all. You can do other things. I’m not saying I won’t run for the presidency perhaps some day in my life – or perhaps not. What I mean is that it’s not my ambition.  My ambition is to serve, to serve my people, my country [Colombia], and to serve wherever I can serve.” (From English interview)


“I am very thankful [to President Uribe] for what he did for us. He took a big risk. It could have ended in a military blunder.  He put his reputation on the line. He rescued us, we are all alive, and I think it was admirable.” (From French interview)


“I believe he has done very good things for Colombia. Have I made amends with him? I don’t think we were ever at odds; we just belong to different camps.” (French)


Colombia is living a moment where all the country is united around a president that has been successful in stopping the advance of the guerilla.  Probably not the way I would have done it.  I think there are many things I would‘ve done differently. But I appreciate that he recovered the hope for Colombians.” (English)



The Farc

“I think they lost.  I think they have no credibility. I think they played to be the good guys, trying to give Colombia the opportunity of such social justice, and now people around the world know that Farc are terrorists, that they keep hostages, that they take their money from drugs.  They lost whatever bit they had. On this hostage issue, they lost it.” (English)



Life as a hostage

“We were always anxious and thirsty for any news.  We tried to receive the news on the radio whenever we weren’t marching.  Usually we were unchained around 5:30 in the morning, then we quickly cleaned ourselves and were had breakfast.  We listened to the radio to avoid boredom; eventually as captives we had nothing to tell each other.  Everyone busied themselves in their own way.  There was a lot of recycling of objects, mending of clothes...” (French)


“There were very intense moments, but unfortunately very few.  There were some guards who secretly expressed their disgust with the way I was treated.  That was important for me. I especially remember one young woman.  They did not want there to be any communication between guerillera women and soldier prisoner.  During a march she was able to tell me she did not agree with my treatment.  I often asked for something to tie my hair back.  She told me ‘Listen, I am not allowed give you this [hairpin], so I am going to pretend to drop it, you pick it up and ask who it belongs to. Since no one will reply you say that it belongs to you.” (French)


“During the last fifteen days we were given some extraordinary things.  It had been a year since we had new clothes… I remember being surprised when I received a pair of [women’s] jeans.  For seven years, nothing feminine.  I was always dressed in men’s clothes.  It was a rather strange discovery.” (French)


French support

“For me there is no division between France and Colombia. I love both countries and I try to find a balance within me. The synthesis happened internally.” (French)


“I have a love affair with France, an intimacy.  I don’t have to convince the French because they understand me.” (English)


“I don’t know if there is a price for life.  I don’t know if you can put a price for rescuing somebody.  I would do anything, spend all the money that I can to save just one life.  If France hadn’t done what it did we wouldn't be alive.” (English)


Download the entire transcript of the interview.

Date created : 2008-07-07