Start A Petition

Colombia Rescues Hostage Ingrid Betancourt

World  (tags: GoodNews, Colombia, Ingrid Betancourt, freedom )

- 3644 days ago -
BOGOTA (Reuters) - French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans were rescued from leftist guerrillas by Colombian troops, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said on Wednesday.

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


Julia D (92)
Wednesday July 2, 2008, 2:00 pm
I wonder.

Ester Hellen (228)
Wednesday July 2, 2008, 2:01 pm
I hope that it is true.

Gorilly Girl (339)
Wednesday July 2, 2008, 2:45 pm
Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...This is good news right??? It truley happend right???

Big Gorilly HUgs

Madalena L (448)
Wednesday July 2, 2008, 3:01 pm

Elisabetta o (46)
Wednesday July 2, 2008, 3:43 pm
Yes, we are all very happy.

By Hugh Bronstein

BOGOTA (Reuters) - French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, three Americans and 11 other hostages were rescued from leftist guerrillas by Colombian troops on Wednesday after years hidden away in jungle captivity.

All of the former captives, rescued in an operation that involved tricking the guerrillas, were in reasonably good health despite having been held in harsh conditions, often chained by the neck by their rebel captors, Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos said.

The rescue was a huge coup for popular President Alvaro Uribe, an anti-guerrilla hard-liner who has used billions of dollars in U.S. aid to push the rebels onto the defensive, cut crime and spark economic growth.

Betancourt was the highest profile captive held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, Latin America's oldest surviving left-wing insurgency.

The rescue was carried out in the southern jungle province of Guaviare, Santos said. Soldiers posed as members of a fictitious non-government organization that supposedly would fly the hostages by helicopter to a camp to meet with rebel leader Alfonso Cano.

"The helicopters, which in reality were from the army, picked up the hostages in Guaviare and flew them to freedom," Santos said. Two guerrillas were captured in the operation.

Fifteen long-term kidnap victims were rescued in all, including Betancourt and the three Americans, he said.

"This was an unprecedented operation," Santos told reporters. "It will go down in history for its audaciousness and effectiveness."

The FARC has been holding about 40 high-profile hostages it has sought to exchange for jailed rebels.

Betancourt, 46, a former presidential candidate, had become a symbol of the suffering of the hostages as her dual French-Colombian nationality helped draw worldwide attention to their plight.


In Paris, the office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed Betancourt's release.

"Mrs Betancourt is at a military base in Colombia," an official of Sarkozy's office said. The president's office said Sarkozy had a long conversation with Uribe and was due to make a statement later.

Betancourt was kidnapped by the FARC in 2002 and was last seen in a rebel video at the end of last year looking gaunt and despondent.

"I am filled with happiness," Betancourt's sister, Astrid, told Colombian radio. "These have been long years of waiting."

France had made vigorous efforts to seek Betancourt's freedom.

"I'd like to thank everyone involved, including President Sarkozy," Herve Marro, spokesman for an Ingrid Betancourt support group in Paris, told French TV station I-Tele.

The freed Americans are former Defence Department contract workers Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell and Thomas Howes. They were captured in 2003 after their light aircraft crashed in the jungles while on a counternarcotics operation.

U.S. President George W. Bush spoke by telephone with Uribe on Wednesday afternoon.

"President Bush congratulated President Uribe, telling him he is a 'strong leader.' President Uribe thanked President Bush for his support and confidence in the Government of Colombia," Gordon Johndroe, White House National Security Council spokesman, said in Washington.


Elisabetta o (46)
Wednesday July 2, 2008, 3:45 pm

The FARC has demanded that Uribe pull back troops from an area the size of New York City to facilitate talks.

Uribe, whose father was killed in a botched FARC kidnapping years ago, refuses to accept that condition. But he has offered a smaller safe haven under international observation in an area where there are no armed forces or armed groups.

The outlawed rebel army, once a 17,000-member force able to attack cities and kidnap almost at will, has been driven back into remote areas and now has about 9,000 combatants. The guerrillas have lost three major leaders this year.

Listed as a terrorist group by U.S. and European officials, the FARC has used Colombia's cocaine trade to fund its operations.

In announcing the rescue operation, Santos called on the guerrillas to give up their arms and negotiate a truce.

Michael Shifter, an analyst at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank, said the rescue showed that the FARC was in a serious organizational crisis.

"The Colombian government took advantage of the FARC's weakness and disarray to carry out the mission. It was a big gamble, but it worked," he said.

"Uribe is a risk-taker and is full of surprises. Not that he needs it, but this remarkable turn of events will further boost his popularity."

U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who had been visiting Colombia, was informed about the successful release of the hostages while en route to Mexico from Colombia.

A spokesman told reporters on McCain's plane that on Tuesday night, Uribe and his defence minister pulled aside McCain and the two senators travelling with him to inform them of the operation that was planned for Wednesday to free the hostages. The three had not learned about the success of the operation before departing Colombia.

"All three senators would like to congratulate the Colombian government for their successful release of the hostages," a McCain spokeswoman told reporters.

(Additional reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and Sudip Kar-Guptain Paris; Adriana Garcia and Tabassum Zakaria in Washington; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Frances Kerry)


Madalena L (448)
Wednesday July 2, 2008, 3:46 pm
A nightmare of one courageous woman finally ends in Colombia.

Elisabetta o (46)
Wednesday July 2, 2008, 3:53 pm
In this moment, the three northamerican are in their way home to US.

Joycey B (750)
Wednesday July 2, 2008, 4:38 pm
Thanks for the good news Julia.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday July 2, 2008, 7:47 pm
This is good news Julia thanks. I read about this earlier on AOL.

Kathy W (299)
Wednesday July 2, 2008, 9:03 pm
Great news! Thanks Julia.

Glenda P (82)
Thursday July 3, 2008, 2:56 am
OOPS Sorry, I was so happy I hit cancel. Thanks for this really good news.

Julia D (92)
Thursday July 3, 2008, 6:17 am
Ok, here's my issue: in order to infiltrate the FARC and get close to the FARC's most important hostage, the soldiers had to be infiltrating the guerrilla for months if not years.
I wonder why negotiations never worked out?
I wonder if it was in the Colombian government's interest to make sure no dialogue or negotiation would ever bring results (much less any negotiation lead by Chavez)?
I wonder if for many months or years it had been planned to guarantee a liberation of Ingrid only - and only - by military means to strengthen Uribe's government and get worldwide approval for his hard-line policies?
I wonder if Ingrid could have been free for a long time.
I wonder what's going to happen to the peace communities.

Don't get me wrong, I'm so very happy that Ingrid is finally free and with her family again.
Yet I wonder.

Julia D (92)
Thursday July 3, 2008, 10:16 am

McCain Backer's Firm Pleaded Guilty To Funding Terrorist Group In Colombia

The co-host of a recent top-dollar fundraiser for Sen. John McCain oversaw the payment of roughly $1.7 million to a Colombian paramilitary group that is today designated a terrorist organization by the United States.

Trudi Reijnders (242)
Thursday July 3, 2008, 11:15 am
Just watched on television Ingrid Betancourt being reunited with her children,and it made me cry of joy for her and her family.

Elle J (276)
Thursday July 3, 2008, 5:49 pm
Noted and thank you Julia. Yes it is true. They tricked the army into thinking that they were being transferred to another prison and then an unmarked helicopter landed, rescued them and picked them up. Wonderful News!!

Morgan Griffith (225)
Saturday July 5, 2008, 9:57 am
This is wonderful that these hostages were freed but isn't it a coincidence that McCain was there? I see US political policies all over this one.

FreeSpirit Running (320)
Wednesday July 9, 2008, 6:56 pm
Thank you Julia, noted with joy for all of the freed women! Sad, that it took so long for them to be freed, but glad that they are now! Truly strong women, and blessed to be alive...

Ingrid is on Larry King tonight talking about her ordeal with FARC and wow, she is truly a strong woman to have endured all those years in captivity, and her companions as well.


Blue Bunting (855)
Wednesday July 9, 2008, 7:01 pm
Wasn't John McCain just in Colombia to support his "free trade" policy? And yes, one of his "campaign aides" contributed to the guerillas.

Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in World

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.