Mauricio Due-As AFP/Getty Images
Freed Colombia hostage Ingrid Betancourt, center, is kissed by her daughter Melanie Delloye, left, as her son Lorenzo looks on, at the airport in Bogota. As former Sen. Ingrid Betancourt reunites with her two children, transfixed Colombians share in the exultation.
"Paradise, nirvana, must be something very close to what I am feeling in this moment," she said on an airport tarmac after being reunited with her two children, Lorenzo, 19, and Melanie, 22, who arrived in Bogota on a French government aircraft. "These children are my light, my moon, my stars. It was the desire to see them again that drove me to get out of the jungle."It was another nationally televised chapter in the sociopolitical drama that has transfixed Colombia and much of the world. Betancourt is a dual citizen of Colombia and France, and her case has become a cause celebre in France while generating intense interest throughout Latin America.
By Patrick J. McDonnell and Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers July 4, 2008
For a long time now I have been following Betancourt's story and feeling great empathy for her. Held hostage in the jungle for 6 years, gradually becoming more frail to the point where she thought any day she was going to die. No one can imagine what it is like to live like that in daily fear as well as terrible conditions. She had one tiny radio which her son used to broadcast on in the hope she could hear him. These messages kept her going, but as cruel punishment her captors used to confiscate the radio.
I have prayed so much for this woman, I felt such joy this morning when i heard of her freedom. I am so pleased for her family and the other hostages freed with her
A Good day!!
Below I have pasted a summary of the background story from Reuters
(Reuters) - Colombia said on Wednesday it rescued French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans from leftist guerrillas who had held them for years in secret jungle camps.
Here are some facts about Betancourt and other hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
* Colombian-French politician Ingrid Betancourt, who was running for president, and her vice presidential candidate Clara Rojas, were captured while campaigning in 2002. Rojas gave birth to a boy, Emmanuel, while in captivity in a secret jungle camp.
* Three U.S. Defense Department contract workers -- Thomas Howes, Marc Gonsalves and Keith Stansell -- were kidnapped when their aircraft crashed while on a counter-narcotics mission in February 2003.
* Betancourt and the three Americans were among 44 key hostages the FARC wants exchanged for jailed rebels. Some have been held for nearly a decade. The government says the FARC holds another 700 hostages.
* In late 2007, the army arrested a group of guerrillas as they delivered documents including a video that showed a gaunt Betancourt sitting in the jungle and the three Americans. In a letter to her mother, the politician said she was barely eating and that her hair was falling out.
* The FARC began as a Communist peasant army in the 1960s. President Alvaro Uribe has pushed the guerrillas onto the defensive with a U.S.-backed security campaign, but the group is still fighting, kidnapping and trafficking in cocaine.
(Editing by David Storey)