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Wednesday's Connector: Ingrid Betancourt

October 4th, 2010
03:03 PM ET

Former Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt recently told the story of her six-year captivity in a book which was released last month.

Ingrid Betancourt is your Connector of the Day
Ingrid Betancourt is your Connector of the Day

Betancourt, a former presidential candidate in Colombia, was held for more than six years by Marxist rebels before the Colombian military rescued her and 14 others in 2008.

The book is called "Meme le Silence a une Fin," or "Even Silence Has an End."

In June, Betancourt filed a suit, asking for about $7 million from the Colombian government for the years she spent as a hostage.

Betancourt and her family members say the government did not do enough to protect her.

Betancourt was freed in a high-profile helicopter rescue mission in July 2008. Colombian commandos posed as humanitarian aid workers to free the group, which included three U.S. military contractors and 11 Colombian police and military members.

Here's your chance to have your questions answered by Ingrid Betancourt.

Do you want to know more about her time as a hostage? What does she think of the current situation in Colombia?

Please leave your questions for Betancourt below and be sure to include where you're writing from.

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. G.P.H.

    Dear Mrs. Betancourt,

    I was moved by the pictures of your rescue in 2008 and the emotional reunion with your family members in France. My perception of you has changed 180 degrees since you decided to sue the Colombian Government. My question is this: why are you suing the same Colombian Government that came to your rescue? You are a Colombian and knew the risks of getting into politics when you did. Your move seems very distasteful. G.P.H. Cape Town, South Africa

    October 4, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  2. Keira

    I'd like to ask her, what got her through all those years of captivity? Also, what is her message to all the people who are currently in jail being silenced by oppressive regimes?

    Thanks!!

    Keira
    NY

    October 4, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  3. Mike

    Please explain why you think the Government of Colombia should pay you compensation for being a hostage when the military told you it was dangerous to travel without an escort and you said you did not need an escort and that you were accepting responsibility for your own actions and safety?

    October 4, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Reply
  4. Leo Perez minaya

    What is worse for you, the Pinochet dictartorship or the FARC?
    Muchas Gracias,
    Leo

    October 4, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  5. Leo Perez minaya

    By the way i am from the Dominicn Republic

    October 4, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  6. Jose

    Why did you abandon your country for France?

    October 4, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  7. Natalie

    Dear Ingrid
    I am busy reading your book and each evening hurry home to read it. You really are such a brave woman and in a way i feel your suffering continues wih the kinds of questions people ask you. I am struck by your calmness and inner peace which radiates from you. There are many misunderstandings regarding why you act in the way you do and yet you deal with it all so patiently.
    I hope you really do enjoy the rest which you now desire and are able to live in the present moment. And i hope one day to see and hear you at a session of the Emmanuel Community in Paray le Monial in the Summer. Remember, it is the home of the Sacred Heart we would love to see you there , God Bless and thank you for your testimony to life.

    October 4, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  8. ihls

    Regardless, I believe you should be compensated by the government of where you was born. The hardship of being captive and the emotional anguish you had to endure deserves a compensation.

    It was your faith and prayers that kept you going on, a good example for others. Peace and freedom are priceless, now you have it !

    October 4, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  9. Pamela

    Dear Ms. Betancourt,

    I recently read your book, it is a very moving and personal account of your experience I was struck that amidst the terrrible conditions of your captivity, you seemed to undergo a personal transformation, guided by a spiritual path, that at first seemed to part of finding a way to cope but later evolved into something much deeper, a true discovery and then a deepening of your relationship with God. As much as you may feel comfortable in discussing, how where you able to develop and nuture a relationship with God while in captivity and going forward now in your life, what does your relationship with God me to you in terms of who you are as a person and what you may like to do. From New York

    October 4, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  10. Pascale de Rotrou

    I would like to know what are the most important values your father and mother instilled in you as a child . I have been so impressed by what you have accomplished and your determination as an hostage not to be crushed and keep your dignity. I have not yet read your latest book only La rage au coeur.
    I have been in awe of your tender letter to your mother while an hostage and the love you demonstrated to her.
    After 6 years and a half of captivity you look unscathed physically by your ordeal. By your philosophy you remind me of Victor Frankl and his attitude in concentration camp where there is always freedom in the response to your captors.
    Like Marina Silva in Brazil, you are an inspiration for many people.

    October 4, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  11. Arlene Heredia

    Hi Ingrid,

    As a Colombian-American, I was overjoyed when you were liberated and it made me think things were looking up for Colombia. However, I'm surprised that being a former hostage, you have not advocated for the release of the thousands of captives still held. It was a combined effort of your family and the Colombian government that freed you. Yet you seem to give France, who had no part in the execution of this operation, the most credit. Do you not think that you owe it to the rest of the hostages to help them being that you know the horrors you endured? You escaped to France and seem to forget those you left behind.

    Arlene H
    New Jersey

    October 4, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  12. Mauricio

    Ingrid,
    You have a well rounded past political experience and of course a horrible experience as a hostage; instead of engaging in legal action against the very people that liberated you, instead of continuing to fight aginst your own cpative brothers and sisters, why don't you dedicate yourself to denouncing the FARC and its horrible practices around the world? I am a Colombian and I feel great admiration and respect for you and what you had to endure, but I feel sorry to see how you keep fighting your own demons and waisting your energy on the wrong cause. With your experience and status, you could do great things for Colombia: mainly becoming a spokesperson against the FARC and its terrorist inhumane activities.

    October 4, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  13. Gustavo Lopez

    You're considered a traitor by millions of people around the world, including me. When will you start to actually help your country like you promised? What're your plans with that?

    October 4, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  14. Ana M.. Velez

    Ms. Betancourt: don't you think you are responsible for putting yourself and your team in danger, when you didn't pay attention to the restrictions to go to the zone where you were kidnapped, despite the warnings of military officials and government? I think that if you had paid attention to the warnings you wouldn't had been kidnapped and government wouldn't have wasted time, efforts and money trying to rescue you, a person so ungrateful to sue you rescuers and don't give attention to your husband who fought so hard to get you free.

    October 4, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  15. Ngobi Jerry

    Dear Ingrid,
    Thanks be to God that you made it through that ordeal with the FARC. Where you ever tortured while in captivity? Have you found peace in your heart to forgive your captors?

    Jerry Ngobi
    Nilai, Malaysia

    October 4, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Reply
  16. Ana

    Dear Ingrid:
    Dont you think it would be of great help for Colombia and all of Latin America if you would be more active in explaining the damage FARC and its supporters have done? Dont you have a special responsability to be the spokesperson to explain to the people how detrimental they have been? Shouldnt you be more outspoken on the matter? Specially considering that some latin leaders, life Hugo Chavez, are supporting the guerrillas and their causes.
    Shouldnt you be much more active in getting this message across?

    October 4, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  17. Cris

    Why did you disclose personal information about Clara Rojas and her child in your book? Do you regret doing so?

    October 4, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Reply
  18. Truth seeker

    Let me tell you, before you were rescued I thought you were a great woman. I prayed for you constantly and cried for you, but after seeing everything you have done, my eyes have been opened and have seen you for who you really are: A TRAITOR. For those of you, who think this woman is a hero, please find out the real truth about her. Please get informed before complementing the biggest traitor a country has known: Ingrid Betancourt. She should be ashamed of the way she is trying to portrait herself. The people who were with her in captivity know who she really is and can tell you the truth. A government did everything to get her back from the place she chose to visit knowing that it was very dangerous, but she insisted even after she was warned time and time again not to go. But she had to do it to get the attention, as always. And now she wants to get money as a result of her mistake? Hello!!! All she cares about is money and fame. That is the reason she is suing. Does everybody know that a few weeks after being rescued, she visited Chavez and thank him for his help. Excuse me??? Who are you, but a traitor and everybody around the world should see you for who you are. Always, using every opportunity to get the best for you, because that is all it matters to you. I hope that the government of Colombia doesn’t pay you a penny. You should be paying the Colombian people for the money invested in you by the government trying to rescue you.

    October 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  19. Maria

    Ms. Betancourt: I understand low profile people who are not known around the world, and have been held captive, they will need help to find a job, sustain their families once again, provide for their families once they are freed, and to fulfill these needs they could need the help of monetary government compensation. However, this is not your case as you have a high profile and I am sure that when it comes to monetary compensation, the book you wrote will provide you enough profits for you never to worry about financial problems ever again. But even if these people were to ask for compensation. Do you not think that asking for US$7million is too exagerated and if every single person that has been kidnap would ask for that sum then they would be withdrawing money that otherwise could be used for army budget and therefore could help more captives be freed? I'm sure rescue missions cost large amounts of money and a lot of time as well.

    October 4, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Reply
  20. Liz

    Ingrid,

    According to your actions you hate your country ,even though you make yourself look as a martir.
    First of all it is incredible you did not even thank the goverment and the army when they rescued you...your gratefully went only to France where you really should stay for the rest of your life.The whole country went to the streets with white handkerchiefs celebrating your freedom!!
    And, as if this was not enough for your pride, you wanted to be compensated when you were the only one responsible for your destiny.
    Colombia is very, very, very upset with you,

    October 4, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  21. Angela

    I hav 2 questions:

    1. The book by the Americans portray you in a very negative way, saying, among other things, you could even have had them killed for intrigues against them you did with the FARC. Comments?

    2. One thing repeatedly mentioned in the pres is that you were warned, many, many times, not to continue to FARC territory and you still went. Isnt this very irresponsible on your part, and how can you now have the face to sue the same government that helped rescue you, this action is very detrimental to you. Shame on you!

    October 4, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Reply
  22. Cris

    I would also like a reply on the 2 questions from Angela:

    1. Your negative acting that could have hurt the Americans
    2. Your insistence to go to FARC territory, ignoring repeated
    warnings & then suing the same people who rescued you!

    thank you & I hope you have an honest answer to this.

    October 4, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  23. Andres Jimenez

    When will her cynicism come to an end? colombia is not full of hatred, it is full of contempt for an ungrateful, irresponsible and backstabbing wanna-be jeanne d'arc. My follow up question: when will you come back to colomba? so we can prepare mass protests against your presence.

    October 4, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Reply
  24. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio and CNN friends,

    I would like an answer from Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio on the following questions:

    – How will you Improve Liberty and Order in South America, especially in the Republic of Colombia?

    – How will you Improve Clean and Safe Water in South America, while the North German Lloyd (Hapag-Lloyd AG) Cargo Ship “the Goslar” is Still Polluting our South America’s Waters for Decades?

    – How will you Improve Economic Integration and Unity in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)?

    – What can we expect from you in 2010?

    I am awaiting Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio’s replies.

    Greetings,
    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    October 4, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Reply
  25. Jeremy, a Colombian by heart

    Anyone reading the book by Ingrid Betancourt should also read "Out of Captivity", written by the 3 Americans held hostage and rescued at the same time as Ingrid B. Their book shows a very different side of Ingrid, and the fact that she has now sued the Colombian government [people] will come as no surprise to the reader.

    October 4, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Reply
  26. Sandra

    Dear Ingrid,

    I can tell you are being able to fool some people with your book.

    You were a victim when kidnapped by the FARC, but not anymore. After the COLOMBIAN MILITARY released you, you never even said THANK YOU! Just turned your back on COLOMBIA... you are a not a colombian anymore, you do not represent what we are ... honest and humble people. I hope you stay in France and forget in coming back to that beautiful country.

    People reading this blog don't know you went to that area at your own risk, you signed a document taking responsibility to move forward when you were told to turn around because you were in a hot zone... and then YOU BLAME the country for it???

    You are the mother of ambition, lack of humility, and greed. You are just like your mother... no wonder why probably 95% the country felt bad for you until you decided to sue.

    My question is the same as Mike – what is wrong with you lady???

    October 5, 2010 at 12:05 am | Reply
  27. Andres Angulo

    Why did we ever rescue you?

    oh that's right: to shut your anticolombian mother up.

    what does she make of all of this, after campaigning grotesquely against our government and our people?

    Quite clearly, the apple did not fall at all far from the tree.

    vous êtes toutes les deux pareilles: des traîtresses.

    October 5, 2010 at 1:59 am | Reply
  28. Jorge Manrique

    Going to any lengths to sell her book is she?

    Well if readers of this forum want an earnest colombian opinion, abstain from buying the book, abstain from rewarding this if you wish to respect any bit of colombia's dignity.

    This woman's opinion on our country's situation should be disregarded for the heart which is filled with hatred, rancour and greed is hers (and her mother's), not ours.

    October 5, 2010 at 2:06 am | Reply
  29. Chandra Jaipal

    Dear Ingrid,

    How are you now? I"ve seen on TV when you said: "No más secuestro". I also saw the liberation,which was
    really impressive!

    During the captivity in the Columbian forest, did they serve food three
    times daily or was it up to you to find food and drink like animals?
    Do you still have desire to go for presidential candidate?

    I wish you anyway an awesome future! Un abrazo, vecina!

    From: Chandra Jaipal
    Netherlads, born in South-Amerika, Suriname

    From: Chandra

    October 5, 2010 at 2:20 am | Reply
  30. Jane

    Dear Ingrid,

    You are truly a woman to admire. Your courage during your six year ordeal as well as the dignity and strength you display even now while some people continue to be hostile toward you, are inspiring.

    MY QUESTION is: are you aware of how much love and support there is for you around the world and does this comfort you at all, does it make a difference for you?

    What you went through was horrible, but your story has such a profound effect on the lives of others who are also suffering, and I thank you for sharing it. Continue to stay strong, I could not admire you more.

    Sincerely, Jane from Canada

    October 5, 2010 at 3:42 am | Reply
  31. carlos e. (bogota, col)

    Being condescending and supportive of her while she betrayed "other people who are suffering" while in the very same captivity is not inspiring by any means but rather disgusting. but that's the idea she managed to sell abroad, because much like piedad cordoba aka teodora bolivar said "the others don't matter". she's the one that sells, she's the one that inspires pity and tenderness to all but those still surviving the terrorist ordeal in colombia.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Reply
  32. Lee

    What do you think of the current situation in Colombia?
    Do you have hope that there can be improvements?
    What are the most critical steps that need to be taken for improvement in the country?
    Where does educating Colombia children fall?
    Do you feel Colombia is still a dangerous place?

    Lee
    http://www.chbob.org

    October 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  33. Marco

    Ms. Betancourt: when you were released you told the world you wouldn't cut your hair until the last hostage of FARC is free and that you will contribute somehow with the process/negotiation in order to get this done ASAP...

    I am aware you have been through a living hell and memories of that time must still be there, however, are you actually doing something for hostages?

    Costa Rica

    October 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  34. Todd

    I admire your courage and ability to survive your captivity. I wonder, was there ever a moment when you lost all hope and thought perhaps death would be preferable? What gave you the strength to survive?

    How do you feel now? Are you haunted by those years or do you feel that you are adjusting well to having a "normal" life again?

    God bless you.

    October 5, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  35. James Okolie-Osemene

    I was very happy when I heard the news of your rescue. The act of the rebels was a dastardly and objectionable one. I want to know if the rebels ever maltreated you in anyway. Did you make any attempt to escape before your release? Thank you. NIGERIA

    October 5, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  36. DeGreat

    Dear ingrid U act like an incurable cynic and pathological pessimist,suing colombia goverment shows that your so unambigeous.in any endeavor try to create room for failure.u have to sue urself for being little impetinent.

    October 5, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Reply
  37. Guy Fawkes

    Did you learn anything? And how many new cultural games did you learn?

    Did they naturalize you?

    October 5, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Reply
  38. Tosin

    Early this year, i had of niger president taken hostage. My question is: what is d criteria of those people that take other people hostage and what has that person done to derserve been taken hostage.

    October 5, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Reply
  39. ben

    i think what you should do is to investigate and see who masterminded your kidnapping and sue him. Not to sue the same government rescue you. Ben, Imo Nigeria

    October 5, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Reply
  40. annie

    Dear Ms. Betancourt,

    I know that people speak of your courage and determination, which is certainly true, but I also think what you are doing now isbrave. I am sure it is not an easy thing to talk about your experience, but by doing so, you let people know of the need to help those still held hostage and to make people give pause to consider our common humanity and to respond in all things with actions and words of concern and kindness. We all have limitations and strengths but have the capacity to respond with compassion. In reading your book, it showed how important small acts of kindness were to you amidst the terrible conditions of your captivity and that there is more that unites us than divides us.

    By sharing your experience, you make me think of Eil Wiesel's words:
    "One person of integrity, can make a difference......As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our life will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled ,we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs."

    It is my understanding that you have a foundation to offer help to those in need?. Did you want to talk about your foundation, its goals and efforts? And has it helped you in your own healing process to be able to extend that help?

    October 6, 2010 at 5:08 am | Reply
  41. Geoffrey chimenem

    I think my naija president gud enough to rule us come 2011,but he has plenty gridy people dat cal themselves senate n house of reps

    October 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  42. carlos e. (bogota, col)

    greed, thy name is Ingrid.
    betrayal, thy name is Ingrid.

    but my question: how can you live with yourself knowing you betrayed the nation by going into the caguan when CLEARLY ADVISED NOT TO, then betrayed the fellow captives (AS THE THREE AMERICANS AND OTHER COLOMBIANS HAVE REVEALED) then took the absolutely disgusting libertly to betray fellow captive clara Rojas in your book (certainly her biggest mistake was ever knowing YOU) then betray your ex-husband (WHOM WE HAD TO WITHSTAND FOR YEARS GOING EVERYWHERE WITH YOUR CUT-OUT LITERALLY BEGGING FOR HELP!) then, once again and with such pathological sense of grandiousness come here and BETRAY US AS A COUNTRY AGAIN by suing the country for millions of dollars! and what cynicism to come on TV and say it's "symbolic", you have no moral, you have no ethics, you have no respect for life and WERE and ARE harcly any better than your foes.

    the only tranquility is to see this forum has drawn only a handful of comments, hopefully meaning this other publicity stunt won't mean you keep filling your pockets on our expense.

    snd while you may refrain from answering my (anyways rhetorical) question, try and abide a simple plea: NEVER COME BACK TO COLOMBIA. WE DO NOT WANT YOU HERE.

    October 6, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  43. Juan

    Why aren´t the other captives taht were freed intervieverwed?why arent their versions important for an interview. I´m From Colombia and I´m a shamed and disgusted that you ahve been born In Colombia, you dont know what gratefullness is and how much it cost the Colombian people to you to be free! you been warned, and there was in the news papers at that time an yet you brainlessly went and defied the Farc thinking you were inmmortal..... what a shame!

    October 6, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Reply
  44. Valeria

    Thanks Becky for this opportunity, there is a question that many Colombians want to know:

    Ingrid: why did you sue the Colombian government for USD 6.5 millions, after they rescued you, and advised you prior in advance to the kidnapping of not going to that forbidden area?

    Another question is:

    Why did you divorce someone that was waiting for you all those years of captivity? Why did not you give him a chance before getting divorce?

    October 6, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Reply
  45. Rosa

    My Dear Ingrid,
    I cried when u cried, i cry now thinking of the unimaginable things that you went through. Just like jesus himself u too will be judged and persecuted, and i hope u will continue to hold your head high stay humble, just as you have shown yourself to be. u have helped me to understand a different connetction to myself and to my life. Thank you for having the curage and the strength u have found the one person you hoped to reach out and touch a heart to! Thank you!

    October 23, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Reply
  46. Rosa

    OH and if she is sueing and does win the money i truely believe she will use it in what ever way the lord asks of her, and by that i mean she will use the money to help the people in Columbia. Really peaple look at what her mother does.. her family has been devoted to helping other people all their lives, from taking care of orphans to fighting for peoples rights which is what got her here in the 1st plase. Leave her alone people and let her do what i belive God is sending her to do.

    October 23, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  47. Arledy

    I agree with Mike. This politician was aware of the danger she was assuming. But she with her complete pride did not pay attention to all the warnings done by the government. Now it´s unbelievable that she is blaming her own country. I am colombian and feel completely disapponited with her behavior. Bogotá, Colombia.

    October 27, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  48. hello

    Hello:

    I've always thought u're a interested woman when you made the decision to talk with the FARC u knew it was very dangerous for ur life, nevertheless u wanted to go. Now u belive u're a victim from Colombia Goverment; I want to ask u out how many times did u feel pain in ur heart when did u listen about Colombian people died for War?

    October 27, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  49. Cynthia

    I saw your interview with Charlie Rose and bought your book the next day, read it and have viewed all the interviews available online, and now have ordered the books of your fellow prisoners. I am a little bit obsessed perhaps because what you were able to learn in the intense grounding of your capitivity is so applicable to life outside of visible chains. It's clear in your book that in your reflection you are taking "the high road"' as you appear to want to teach us in your interviews. Could you be more specific about the influence of the Sacred Heart and of Mary Blessed Mother in your life? What became of "Lucho" ?

    October 31, 2010 at 3:18 am | Reply
  50. Hilda

    I think that people are privated of the liberty need to be helped. Just we could pray for them, and to be more conscious about this terrible situation that are affecting our Country.

    I am so sad when I see my people suffering because of the Guerrilla think have to have the power.

    Please, we need the liberty, the peace. We can begin since homes. Let's to have a good moment in order to be happy.

    November 4, 2010 at 12:15 am | Reply
  51. corina

    Dear Ingrid,
    i hope that after all the horror you went through in your captivity, you'll will be able to forgive some of the people who has written to you in this Blogg,they are judging you so badly and that encourage resenment; if only we could have more humanity, the problems in South America could shine a light.

    I also hope that you are now more than aware that Hugo Chavez cooperates with the Farc and with other terrorist groups. He did nothing for you.

    You are very inteligent and sure you can use it to help people in Colombia, be a clear voice,help your country,fight back. I wish you the very best for the rest of your life in Freedom.

    November 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Reply
  52. kathleen

    Dear Ingrid,
    I have read your book and saw you on Oprah and was very moved. I've read everything I can find about the ordeal. Your experience is etched in my mind forever. I believe you have been judged harshly and that those who do the judging should do so only after going through the same ordeal. The Colombian government did eventially rescue you but they seemed in no hurry. I believe you deserve compensation. I believe you are a remarkable woman to survive with faith and dignity in tact. Bless you ingrid and I hope you can be happy.

    February 11, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Reply

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