Former FARC Hostage Ingrid Betancourt is Really, Really Ungrateful

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I was more than willing to cut Ingrid Betancourt, the Columbian politician held in captivity by the FARC for 2,321 days, slack when one of her co-captives, an American ex-Marine, wrote that "Some of the [FARC] guards treated us better than she did." But this, I'm afraid, is too much. Betancourt threatened (and then retracted, in the face of a massive media backlash) to file suit against the Colombian government—the very government that, in a dangerous and daring commando operation, rescued her and 14 other hostages. The Economist has details:

"UNGRATEFUL", "shameful", "cheeky", "hypocrite". Those are some of the kinder epithets being bandied about in Colombia in reference to Ingrid Betancourt, the French-Colombian politician who was once the nation's most famed hostage. On Friday, the Caracol radio station reported that Ms Betancourt had filed a legal request to the Colombian government for $6.8 million in damages, in compensation for being kidnapped by the FARC guerrillas during her 2002 presidential campaign. On radio talk shows, blogs and chat forums, Colombians have suggested that the government should instead sue Ms Betancourt for the costs of the military operation that led to her release six years later, which she has called a "perfect" rescue.

It seems obvious why Betancourt withdrew the suit, but the invaluable folks at the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas provide some local context—i.e. angry reactions from the local media:

"Shameful" is the headline attached to a photo of Betancourt on the main page of Semana magazine. Columnist Daniel Samper called her attitude "miserable" and said she was "ungrateful" for the government's efforts to rescue her. The Economist reports that on radio talk shows, blogs, and online forums Colombians have called her a "hypocrite" who should be sued by the government to pay the costs of the military operation that led to her rescue.

The press has been most skeptical of her claim that the state failed to protect her. El Espectador quotes a military officer who says it was Betancourt's decision to go without an escort. El Tiempo columnist Mauricio Pombo said she ignored warnings and ended up kidnapped.

(via Ivan Osorio

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  1. wow. That’s chutzpah.

  2. I guess the FARC were not quite the groovy people in the jungle she thought they were.

    1. Betancourt might be obnoxious, but there is no evidence that she was ever pro-FARC.

      1. If she left without an escort, it is pretty obvious she had no clue about just who they were.

  3. How do we really know Betancourt was rescued from the FARC? It’s possible they just gave her back and made it look like a daring rescue. Imagine spending over 2000 days with this woman.

    “Ve haff vays of making you shut up!”

  4. You can say this twice:

    “Shameful” is the headline attached to a photo of Betancourt on the main page of Semana magazine. Columnist Daniel Samper called her attitude “miserable” and said she was “ungrateful” for the government’s efforts to rescue her. The Economist reports that on radio talk shows, blogs, and online forums Colombians have called her a “hypocrite” who should be sued by the government to pay the costs of the military operation that led to her rescue.

    Oh, you did 😉

  5. Ingrid Betancourt just got jealous that for more than a month everyone in France has kept talking about the other Bettencourt: Liliane Bettencourt.

  6. “Colombian,” not “Columbian”.

  7. Give her back to FARC, or better yet pay FARC to take her and do what they want with her. Seems like a more equitable deal to me.

  8. As the only frequent reader ( but first-time commenter) of hit&run; I know of who is Colombian and currently resides in the country, I think I can offer a unique and needed perspective.
    It is true that the state has failed grotesqueley in the protection of those who have been kidnapped,and had failed to protect their property rights while they have been held captive. ( It is also true that the operation which rescued Ingrid and the Americans, Operation “Jaque”, was executed by military personell wearing vests with the Red Cross logo, making the Colombian government guilty of crimes against humanity). In other words, there are plenty of rescued kidnapees with more than sufficient legal standing to sue the state. Ingrid Betancourt is not one of them, and she is not suing the State.
    Ingrid Betancourt, who was warned she could not be accompanied by a military escort when she visited San Vicente del Caguan ( a zone basically given to the FARC by Andres Pastrana) during her presidential campaign. She was stopped at the edge of the area and told by the armed forces to return, she did not. Inside the zone, she was actually stopped by a patrol of FARC troppers who attempted to expel her from the zone peacefully, and was detained when she refused.
    what Im trying to say is that the state is, in fact, at fault for the mess that the lives they return to have become, and I hope many of them do sue, and that their suits are sucessful. And while I would never wish Ill on another person, I do hope Ingrid Stays far away, in France, where she belongs

  9. Yeah,

    Well, don’t think she will be visiting Colombia anytime soon. The word ‘ungrateful’ (ingrata) was the first one that occurred to me when I heard about the demanda.

    ps I live in Colombia

  10. FORMER Marine, Michael, former. There are no ex-Marines.

  11. It makes absolutely no sense at all for the conclusion that because the government of Colombia “failed” to prevent her kidnapping and somehow are still trying to get themselves out of the mess that their nation is in, that she has grounds to sue. What if someone breaks into your home and harms you; do you then sue your county or state government because the “failed” to erradicate all forms of crime? Of all of the dumb-headed conclusions I have read in several blogs, that’s probably the worst.

    And, on a lighter note, there ARE “ex-Marines”, but these are those that were expelled from that elite fighting force through some sort of UCMJ/legal action. Fortunately for us, most Marines serve with honor and are, thus, “former Marines” when they leave the active service. I thank my lucky stars every day that we have such men and women serving.

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