Ingrid Betancourt, who spent six years as a hostage of Colombia’s
FARC guerrillas, said Wednesday she favors dialogue to end terrorism.
Betancourt said there are two schools of thought on terrorism: “One says that you don’t talk to terrorists. The other, in which I
believe, says that precisely because they are terrorists, we must
Speaking Wednesday on Spain’s Cadena SER radio, Betancourt said
that unless talks were held with FARC, “they will go into their shell
and close up.”
“If we leave them there, not only will our (kidnapped)
colleagues stay in the jungle but in the end we won’t be helping to
resolve the real problem, which is the very existence of that group.”
Betancourt said it was important not to let terrorist groups
become isolated but to constantly demand that they explain what they
“The solution is not to close the door but on the contrary to force it open,” Betancourt said.
Betancourt, who was campaigning for the Colombian presidency
when she was abducted in 2002, was rescued by the army in July along
with 14 other hostages.
She was in Madrid on Wednesday to help present a book by former
Colombian congress member Luis Eladio Perez, who also spent more than
six years as a FARC hostage. The book is entitled “Green Hell; Seven
Years Kidnapped by the FARC (“Infierno verde. Siete anos secuestrado
por las FARC”).
Betancourt was scheduled to meet with King Juan Carlos later Wednesday.
At the book presentation, Betancourt said she had no plans to
return to Colombia for the moment or go back into politics. Since her
release, she has spent most of her time abroad, either in Europe or the
United States. She has dual French-Colombian nationality.
“There are a lot of security problems,” she said. “The risk
is too high and I don’t want to take any chances. We will try to
resolve the security problems in the best way possible and when that’s
done, I will go back to my country.”
“I am very happy, but my heart continues to be chained to those trees in the jungle,” Betancourt said.
She said she intended to dedicate her time now to defending human rights. (AP)