The Bristol, Connecticut woman is to become a Colombian citizen on Friday
in Washington, D.C., when Uribe meets the three freed Americans for the
Uribe personally approved her citizenship application and will himself give her the oath.
“I love Colombia and I love the people,” Rosano told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
bitter critic of Uribe’s hard line against her son’s captors during his
five years as a hostage of FARC rebels, publicly opposing his
preference for a military rescue over negotiations that could lead to a
“Now I understand what he was up against,” Rosano,
59, said, explaining that as a mother seeking her son Marc Gonsalves’
safe return she “had to more or less kiss the FARC’s butt.”
his rescue, Gonsalves told his mother that that guerrillas had informed
him they had orders to kill him immediately if a rescue was attempted.
said she fell in love with Colombia during three visits after her son’s
surveillance plane crashed near a Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia camp in February 2003, beginning a long ordeal for Gonsalves,
Keith Stansell and Thomas Howes.
“I knew nothing about Colombia until my son got caught up in all this,” said Rosano, who speaks just a few words of Spanish.
rescued Americans’ employer, Northrop Grumman, has been good to them,
guaranteeing the three jobs when they’re ready to return to work,
three plan a motorcycle tour in the United States in coming months —
likely in February, said Rosano — to call attention to the dozens of
Colombians still being held hostage by the FARC.
They mentioned the idea last month in a Colombian radio interview, speaking a fluent, slang-laced Spanish.
Gonsalves, Stansell and Howes have generally spurned interview requests and are seeking a book deal.
said she recently spoke with Ingrid Betancourt, the dual French
national and former presidential candidate who was freed with the three
Americans and 11 other Colombians on July 2 in a bloodless operation in
which their guerrilla jailors were tricked into believing the hostages
were being transferred by helicopter to another rebel camp by a
international humanitarian group.
“She said, “I love you like a
mother,'” said, Rosano, who counts Betancourt’s mother, Yolanda
Pulecio, among Colombians she holds dear, including some e-mail pen
“We want peace in Colombia,” Rosano told the AP. “I want to be able to go back some day.”
her Colombian citizenship is exceptional — Foreign Ministry official
Claudia Sinning told the AP that Uribe has only granted similar waivers
of the usual requirements to some 40 foreigners since he took office in
2002 — Rosano is not giving up her U.S. citizenship.
And for now, neither she nor Gonsalves, 36, plan to visit Colombia, for fear of being targeted by the FARC.
“Even my son said to me, ‘Mom, don’t go to Colombia. You’ll be a sitting duck for them.'” (AP)