Ingrid Betancourt wins female leadership award

Oscar award winning actress Meryl Streep Saturday presented former FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt with an award for leadership, at a U.S. ceremony to celebrate women who work for change in their countries.

French-Colombian Betancourt received $50,000 from the Diane von Furstenberg (DVF) Foundation, created by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg to honor women who excel in leadership, both at the local and international level.

Betancourt was one of four women honored at the Saturday night awards ceremony for her “relentless fight against international human rights violations.”

The former hostage was kidnapped by the FARC in 2002 when she entered guerrilla territory to attempt to negotiate with the insurgents.

Betancourt said that she didn’t know who she was more impressed by, the presenters or the prize-winners.

“It’s like a dream, being here with Meryl Streep,” said the former politician.

Betancourt was rescued, along with eleven Colombian soldiers and three Americans, in the Colombian military’s daring “Operation Checkmate” in July 2008. She now lives in her birthplace, France and told reporters at the event that she will not return to Colombia in the forseeable future.

Marc Gonsalves, one of three captured U.S. military contractors who spent time in FARC captivity with Betancourt in the jungle, also attended the ceremony. He and his fellow contractors published a book about their ordeal, which portrays Betancourt in a less than favorable light.

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