Presidential in Colombia: Ingrid Betancourt, the return

Here is Ingrid Betancourt again. I am here today to finish what I started with many of you in 2002,”declared the ex-hostage announcing, Tuesday, January 18, his presidential candidacy for May 29 and June 19. Already a candidate twenty years ago, the environmentalist senator had been kidnapped in the middle of the campaign by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The Marxist guerrillas (demobilized in 2016) had held her in the jungle for 6 years, 4 months and 9 days.

Controversial figure

For her return to politics at 60, the leader of the small Green Oxygen party, whose battle horse remains corruption, will first have to triumph, on March 13, over six other candidates in the primary of the centrist coalition Hope.

However, she is a controversial figure in her country. Many Colombians criticize her for having received more media coverage than the other victims of the civil war (by France where she studied and whose citizenship she acquired by marriage), for being too bourgeois, or for having dared seek compensation from the state for his detention (withdrawn in the face of outcry). Worse, some consider her responsible for her kidnapping, since she had taken to the road ignoring the warnings of the army.

Water flowed under the bridges. The ex-hostage has long moved away, writing a book in France, studying theology in London. In 2018, she returned to support in the second round of the presidential election the left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro – now the favorite in the polls –, narrowly beaten by current President Iván Duque. Last year, she faced her former executioners from the Farc before the Truth Commission, for an unprecedented exercise in reconciliation. Ingrid Betancourt has for her to be the only woman among the candidates of the Espérance coalition, in a macho country which aspires to change. But it starts very late vis-à-vis its competitors.