Ingrid Bétancourt


As the daughter of Colombia’s ambassador to UNESCO, Ingrid Bétancourt grew up between Paris and Bogota. She attended the Institut d’études politiques in Paris during the 1980s before marrying and then giving birth to two children, Mélanie and Lorenzo. She returned to Colombia and was elected as a liberal parliamentarian in 1994, before becoming a senator within the new Green party she founded, Oxígeno Verde. With great courage, she ceaselessly denounced corruption and pursued her vision of social justice, running for president in Colombia’s 2002 elections.

But in February of that year, she was captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and held prisoner for over six years in the Colombian jungle, facing great hardship and hopelessness at every turn. With eloquence and emotion she describes this painful experience in Even silence has an end, a book published shortly after her spectacular release by the Colombian army in July 2008.

In accordance with her faith, she forgave her jailers and is currently committed to freeing hostages still held prisoner in her country and around the world. Her boundless dedication, which exacted such a high price, serves as an inspiration to those who are deprived of freedom and endure terrible persecution, often in conditions of extreme violence. Although she may have turned her back on politics proper, Ingrid Bétancourt has certainly not given up the fight against oppression. Rather, she has chosen the pen as her weapon, combating injustice through the two books she has published since her release.

Ingrid Bétancourt’s bravery and determination have garnered unanimous praise the world over. In 2008, she was named honorary president of the Global Greens. She has been named a Chevalier (Knight) of the French Legion of Honor, and she has also received the Princess of Asturias Award and the Women’s World Award in recognition of her exceptional work as a woman and activist. She has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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