Ingrid Betancourt: On Her Six Years as a Captive in the Colombian Jungle

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ingrid Betancourt with John Hockenberry Ingrid Betancourt with John Hockenberry (The Takeaway)

A little over two years ago, Ingrid Betancourt,  former candidate for the Presidency of Colombia, was freed in a dramatic military rescue mission after six years of being held hostage. She and other hostages, incluing three Americans, had been taken captive by narco-terrorists known as the FARC rebels.

She has written a poetic account of those six years in her new book, Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle.

From Even Silence Has An End by Ingrid Betancourt. Reprinted by arrangement of The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright (c) 2010 by Ingrid Betancourt.

Painfully, I tore myself away from the light, turned on my heels, and plunged into the thick matted darkness. It had begun to rain again. It was difficult to walk; every other step I tripped. I had my hands out in front of me to avoid obstacles. I couldn’t see a thing. I hadn’t managed to get hold of a machete, but I did have a flashlight. The risk involved in using it was as great as the fear that prevented me from using it. I went slowly into this threatening space and told myself I would switch it on only when I couldn’t take it anymore. My hands collided with wet, rough, sticky surfaces, and I expected at any moment to feel the burn of some violent poison. The storm was raging. I could hear the thundering of the rain pounding on the canopy of vegetation that for a few more minutes would protect me. I expected the fragile roof of leaves to yield and open under the weight of water at any moment. The prospect of the flood that would soon submerge me made my situation all the more distressing. I no longer knew whether it was raindrops or my own tears that were flowing down my cheeks, and I hated to have to drag along this relic of a sniveling, shivering child, when I knew that I couldn’t allow myself any weakness.

I had already made considerable headway. A bolt of lightning tore through the forest, landing a few yards away from me. In a burst of light, the space around me was revealed in all its horror. I was surrounded by gigantic trees and was only two steps from falling into a ravine. I stopped short, totally blinded. I squatted to catch my breath among the roots of the tree just there before me. I was on the verge of finally taking out my flashlight so that I could go around the tree that I was leaning against, immediately change direction, and get away from the ditch, when in the distance I noticed intermittent flashes of light headed my way. I could hear their voices now. They were coming after me, and they must be very near, because I heard one of them shout that he had already seen me. I camouflaged myself among the roots of my old tree while praying to the Lord to make me invisible.


Ingrid Betancourt

Produced by:

Jen Poyant

Comments [2]

Ingrid unfortunately did not hear the advice of state officials not to go to the area where she was kidnapped. She ventured into the area thinking she was untouchable and this is the result... I encourage all listeners/readers/reporters to find out why she is not liked in Colombia nowadays. Any ex-hostage in Colombia is very "popular" or "famous" at the time they are released and a few years later. But not Ingrid, on the week of her release, she traveled to France and months after, sought to sue the Colombian govt. on the basis that the govt. was responsible for her being kidnapped. Many brave armed force personnel risked their lives to release her from captivity in a successful hostage rescue and she comes back to sue the Government??? Please inquire further when reporting your stories. I am sure "The Takeaway" has its good share of smart, un-biased investigative reporters.

Sep. 28 2010 07:21 PM

The world is hungry for super heroes. Unfortunately, Ingrid Betancourt is not one of these. Every Colombian knew the Caguan was a very dangerous place to go, Ingrid was advised not to go and she did it. She went because she wanted, her populartity at that time was almost nothing among Colombians. She is just a stuborn and arrogant lady.

Sep. 28 2010 09:46 AM

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