Ingrid Betancourt, a politician who was captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas while campaigning for the presidency and held hostage for six years, Tuesday announced she would run again.
I am here to announce that I am going to participate in the consultation on March 13, that I am going to be part of this center-hope coalition as a candidate for the Presidency and I am going to work tirelessly from this moment on, from dawn to dusk, to be president, Betancourt said.
She also explained she will participate in the March 13 primaries of the so-called Coalition of Hope, which is made up of the coalition of hope (center), the coalition of experience (right) and the historical pact (left).
Other contenders within the same political space are former Minister Alejandro Gaviria; former Governors Sergio Fajardo and Carlos Amaya; former Senators Juan Fernando Cristo and Juan Manuel Galán; and leftist lawmaker Jorge Robledo.
Today I am here to finish what I started, she added, referring to her 2002 presidential candidacy, before she was kidnapped by the FARC. Betancourt was a legislator in the 1990s and in 2001 she resigned her seat to be a candidate for the Oxygen Green Party when she was kidnapped Feb. 23 2002.
She remained in the hands of that guerrilla group until July 2, 2008, when the Army released her along with a group of hostages, in a clean military operation in which no gunshots were fired.
During her captivity, Betancourt's fate became a regular subject in global media, given her status as a woman, a presidential candidate, and a Colombian-French citizen.
Following her release she went first to France and eventually pursued a PhD in Theology at Oxford.
After returning to Colombia, she confronted her former FARC captors at the courts created in the peace agreement and exposed the atrocities committed against her and her fellow hostages.
Despite her personal tragedy, Betancourt has been a staunch defender of the peace agreement, without losing her status as a victim and her critical sense both of what was agreed upon and of the former guerrilla leaders, with whom she has been at odds.
Betancourt Tuesday assured the country's current enemy was corruption, so if she is elected she has pledged to clean up the administration and the institutions. I want to be the president of Colombians to ensure that the wealth of the country will go to those children, to those young people, to those adults from whom our war, our violence and our corruption took away all the possibilities of being what they wanted to be, she vowed.
Regarding her change of mind after announcing she would be retiring from politics, Betancourt explained that at some point one has to think: I keep looking at things from the sidelines or I roll up my sleeves and put myself where I can help the most.
The coalition needed the presence of a woman and needed the presence of a person who could speak in another way, she said.