From FARC Hostage To Presidential Candidate In Colombia

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French-Colombian politician and former hostage for the FARC-EP Guerrilla Ingrid Betancourt announces her candidacy for Colombia's presidency for the political party 'Coalicion de la Esperanza' with a message against corruption in Bogota, Colombia on January 18, 2022. (Photo by Sebastian Barros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Jan. 14, 2022: A woman who was once held hostage by the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is now running for president there.

Ingrid Betancourt, who was kidnapped and held hostage for six years by FARC, has launched a fresh bid for the presidency.

The announcement comes almost two decades after the former congresswoman was kidnapped in 2002 while campaigning for Colombia’s top office.

Her time in captivity ended in 2008 through a military operation in which Colombian soldiers disguised as humanitarian workers snatched Betancourt and several other hostages from the FARC without firing a single bullet.

Betancourt, now the leader of the Oxygen Green Party, told reporters on Tuesday that she would vie to become the nominee to represent centrist parties in the race. If she wins the nomination, she will contest the first-round presidential election on May 29th.

“Today I am here to finish off what I started with many of you in 2002,” the 60-year-old said during a news conference. “I am here to claim the rights of 51 million Colombians who are not finding justice because we live in a system designed to reward criminals.”

Betancourt’s announcement also comes months after other candidates have already been campaigning throughout the country ahead of the presidential vote later this year.

Gustavo Petro, a leftist former mayor of Bogota who is currently ahead in the polls, has tapped into widespread frustration with corruption and economic inequalities that have soared during the coronavirus pandemic.

The FARC disarmed and disbanded under a 2016 peace pact that ended Colombia’s decades-long internal war, and it has since transitioned into a political party.