Ingrid Betancourt of Colombia announces presidential candidacy

Ingrid Betancourt, a Colombian politician who was kidnapped and held hostage for six years by an armed rebel group, has launched a new presidential candidacy.

The announcement comes nearly two decades after the former congresswoman was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2002 while campaigning for the presidency of Colombia. Colombia.

The leader of the Green Oxygen Party, Betancourt, told reporters on Tuesday that she would compete to become the nominee to represent the centrist parties in the race. If he wins the nomination, he will run in the first-round presidential election on May 29.

“I am here today to finish what I started with many of you in 2002,” the 60-year-old said during a news conference. “I am here to claim the rights of 51 million Colombians who do not find justice because we live in a system designed to reward criminals.”

Betancourt runs for the presidency of Colombia

Ingrid Betancourt retired from public life after her release, spending much of her time with her family in France. Members of the extinct FARC.

Betancourt’s bid for the presidency comes after Colombia was rocked by massive protests last year demanding government action to tackle education, health care, poverty, police violence and other social problems.

Human rights groups and international observers have accused Colombian security forces of committing “serious” human rights violations during the crackdown on protests, which began in April 2021 over a tax reform proposal.

Last month, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said government agents used “unnecessary or disproportionate force” during the protests.

Other presidential candidates

Betancourt’s announcement also comes months after other candidates have already been campaigning across the country ahead of the presidential election later this year.

Gustavo Petro, a left-wing former mayor of Bogotá who is currently leading in the polls, has tapped into widespread frustration with corruption and economic inequalities that have skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Al Jazeera’s Alessandro Rampietti, reporting from Colombia’s capital Bogotá, said many people in the country were surprised by Betancourt’s decision to run for office.

“It comes at a critical time in the country, when Colombians are extremely angry with the political establishment, with the rise in violence,” Rampietti said, adding that the electorate remains deeply divided.

“He presented himself as someone who could try to unite this country, unite Colombians around his personal history, which he says is similar to the [vida] of the majority of Colombians.

Kidnapped by FARC rebels

Members of the extinct FARC.

Betancourt’s story is well known in the South American nation. She spent six years in rebel camps deep in the Amazon jungle, where fighters sometimes tied her to a tree with metal chains to prevent her from escaping.

His proof-of-life videos, in which he asked officials to investigate the circumstances that led to his own kidnapping and then pleaded with the government to resume peace talks with FARC rebels, were widely shared in Colombia and abroad. Foreign.

As we mentioned in AmericanPost.News, Betancourt became a symbol of international campaigns seeking peace talks in Colombia and the release of FARC hostages.

His time in captivity ended in 2008 through a military operation in which Colombian soldiers disguised as humanitarian workers kidnapped Betancourt and several other FARC hostages without firing a single bullet.

The FARC disarmed and dissolved under a 2016 peace pact that ended Colombia’s decades-long internal war, and has since become a political party.

Betancourt retired from public life after being released, spending much of her time with her family in France. But he returned to Colombia’s political scene last year as the country geared up for elections in May.

While announcing his candidacy for the presidency, Betancourt said he would fight to end impunity for corrupt politicians and address the economic disparities that have long plagued Colombia.

“My story is the story of all Colombians,” Betancourt said. “While my colleagues and I were chained by the neck, Colombian families were chained by corruption, violence and injustice.

“While our captors deprived us of food, gangsters and politicians continued to steal and waste our resources without taking care of the children who go without breakfast here in Colombia.”

Follow us on Google News, Facebook and Twitter to stay informed with today’s news!