Former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt pledged to
press Latin American leaders to help get Marxist FARC rebels to disarm,
after arriving in Colombia for the first time since she was rescued
from guerrillas after a six-year hostage ordeal.
“I am so very happy to be here,” she said shortly after arriving
2100 GMT at Bogota‘s El Dorado international airport where she and her
mother Yolanda Pulecio, were greeted by French ambassador Jean-Michel
Betancourt, 46, who holds dual Colombian and French
citizenship, flew to France with her family three weeks after her
release on July 2. Saturday, she was whisked to a private meeting with
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe at the CATAM military airport adjacent
to El Dorado.
She said that she would visit Quito, Lima,
Santiago, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Brazil, La Paz and Caracas, in a
statement which did not give dates for her visits amid security
Her goal is to ask presidents to join a renewed drive
to get the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the region’s
largest and longest-fighting rebel force, to lay down their arms,
according to the statement obtained by AFP.
Betancourt’s visit to
Colombia five months after her rescue will be brief since she has often
stated she fears for her life here after receiving death threats from
FARC rebels, her former captors, a diplomat told AFP.
edition of Brazil’s O Globo daily said Betancourt would meet with
Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in Sao Paulo on Friday. (AFP)