‘Isaza’ the FARC guerrila that helped former politician Oscar Tulio Lizcano escape FARC captivity left Colombia together with Ingrid Betancourt.
The demobilized guerrila had received a green light from the Prosecution, was pardoned for his crimes and was allowed to board the plane with Ingrid Betancourt and his US$400,000 reward.
The package deal for 28-year-old Wilson Bueno was the wish of Ingrid
Betancourt, who proposed it when she arrived in Colombia a week ago for
a South American tour.
The former presidential candidate, who was
rescued in a bloodless July military mission, said she wanted Bueno to
fly with her to Paris to send a message to leftist rebels who still
hold other hostages — and to ease him into a new life.
that happen, authorities dropped rebellion charges against Bueno, who
earned his $400,000 reward by risking his life when he dragged to
freedom a badly weakened Oscar Tulio Lizcano, 62, in late October.
Colombian prosecutors said Bueno had not participated in the congressman’s kidnapping eight years earlier.
girlfriend Lilia Isabel Banol, who deserted three months ahead of him,
was also to be on the Air France flight bound for Paris’ Charles de
Gaulle airport, officials said.
The flight left Bogota Tuesday evening and was to arrive in Paris late Wednesday morning.
Late last year, France offered political asylum to Colombian rebels who desert with hostages in tow.
a dual French national kidnapped in 2002, was rescued in an elaborate
ruse along with three U.S. military contractors and 11 other Colombians.
going to France to get to know it. We’ll have to see what awaits us
there,” Isaza told reporters Tuesday, wearing a track suit flanked by
Colombia’s defense minister and chief prosecutor. “We hope it’s
His smiling girlfriend invited other
guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the
hemisphere’s last remaining leftist rebel army, to follow their example.
a great opportunity they’re giving us to leave the country because the
security in Colombia isn’t very good,” Banol told reporters.
Minister Juan Manuel Santos said Bueno, a 12-year FARC veteran who lost
his left eye in combat, would receive part of his reward in a bank
account in France and part would stay in Colombia for the ex-rebel’s
In a television interview Tuesday, Bueno made it clear he
had little idea of what lay ahead, saying he believed “the language
would be the toughest.”