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Ingrid Betancourt: 1961—: Politician Biography - Born Into Privilege, Returned To Colombia, Became A Politician, Launched Presidential Campaign

corruption colombian risks government

Ingrid Betancourt: 1961—: Politician.




On February 23, 2002, a group of Colombian revolutionaries called the Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) kidnapped presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and her chief of staff, Clara Rojas. While the event received worldwide press coverage, reaction from the Colombian government was more subdued. Political officials had been abducted before, and a number of prominent figures, including presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan, had been assassinated. Betancourt herself had described such risks in her book, Until Death Do Us Part: "Now that I've arrived at this point, will they kill me, too? My relationship with death is like that of a tightrope walker: we're both doing something dangerous, and we've calculated the risks, but our love of perfection invariably overcomes our fear."

Betancourt has built her reputation on a willingness to fight corruption in Colombia despite such hazards. She told Juan Forero of the New York Times, "Corruption is not abstract; it has a face, and it has a name and we have to say it." Although born into privilege and educated in France, Betancourt returned to Colombia at age 30 to work in government. Her daring and abrasive style included handing out condoms (to symbolize protection against corruption) in her campaign for a seat in Congress. While her methods have often been criticized, they have also gathered media attention that helped her win seats in the Colombian House of Representatives and the Senate in 1994 and 1998. Her victories also placed Betancourt in the position to launch a presidential campaign at the end of 2001.


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over 1 year ago

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