Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ingrid Betancourt - Colombian Hostage

This is a guest post, from Liza.

Ingrid Betancourt, founder of the "Oxygen Green Party" in Colombia and a creative, bold and dedicated anti-corruption activist, has been held hostage in the jungle for six years by the FARC leftist guerillas. Reports are she is dying, chained by her neck, no longer taking food or medication.

I am reading her autobiography from 2002 outlining her courageous and outstanding anti-corruption work in government and politics. She believes corruption is the root of the problem there, the core that desperately needs to be addressed, and the armed resistance movements, the narco-trafficking, the paramilitaries and right wing government are all inflamed infections that have spread from unchecked corruption.

She was a surprise winner during her first election to congress. An unknown 32 year old woman, she won notoriety, name recognition, and, ultimately, a seat in government, by handing out condoms while saying "A shield to corruption" which was at first considered a shock and a disgrace. For her second campaign, where she won more votes than anyone ever had in a congressional campaign in Colombia, her theme was something like "Let's arouse government - Viagra for Colombia".

On April 4 her teenage son Lorenzo drew worldwide attention by issuing very personal yet public pleas for her to hang on, and for her release. These videos are in Spanish and French - the second has been translated into English (go to right side box and click "more").

Right now there is a groundswell of people insisting on her release. Last weekend there were protests all over France where she has dual citizenship because of a former marriage.

I have been touched by her story, and amazed to discover the unfolding situation, so thought you might be interested, too.

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