Pascual Serrano – Rebelión
I read an indignant outcry among progressive Venezuelan sectors over the contemptuous reaction of Ingrid Betancourt and her family toward people who took a great interest in her liberation, particularly President Hugo Chávea and Senator Piedad Córdoba. They speak indignantly of treachery which, evidently, is proof of ingratitude.
Betancourt and her family haven’t betrayed anyone, they’ve returned to the social, political and economic class to which they always belonged: Colombia’s moneyed, neoliberal bourgeoisie. Ingrid is the daughter of Gabriel Betancourt, Education Minister during the government of the dictator Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, and of Yolanda Pulecio, who was a beauty queen who became Miss Colombia and a member of the House of Representatives in Bogotá. Betancourt, as a good daughter of the oligarchy, went to high school at the Lycee Frances in Bogotá and later studied political science in France at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris; she specialized in foreign trade and international relations. She lived in Paris for several years, where her father was a UNESCO ambassador; there she met her first husband, the French diplomat Fabrice Delloye, who she married in 1981.
She divorced in 1990 and affiliated herself with the Liberal Party, where she worked as an adviser for Rudolf Hommes in the Finance Ministry, and in the Foreign Commerce department with Juan Manuel Santos, during the César Gaviria government. Ingrid married again, this time with the Colombian publicist Juan Carlos Lecompte. During this period, she wrote the book La Rage au coeur [The Rage in the Heart], published originally in French, about her view of the government of Ernesto Samper.
Her popular support as a presidential candidate, already outside the Liberal Party, was only .08% of the possible votes, when she was kidnapped.
While there were hundreds of ordinary footsoldiers and anonymous civilians in the hands of the FARC and many more campesinos and small collaborators of the guerrillas without blood on their hands rotting away in the Colombian prisons, Hugo Chávez and Piedad Córdoba chose the daughter of the dictator’s minister and Miss Colombia as the symbol of their struggle for humanitarian exchange. The international media, with France in the lead, incorporated the crusade to elevate Ingrid Betancourt to the level of a national heroine. Evidently her family, who’d never gotten close to a president, emerged from the hills, without any distaste toward any social leader who would ask for Ingrid’s freedom. If they had to criticize Uribe in order to be in front of the cameras next to a head of state who was asking for freedom for their daughter, well, they’d do it.
Believing themselves to be pushing for a humanitarian agreement, Chávez and Piedad converted Ingrid into an example of resistance and struggle and the guerrillas into a monster who where holding a caring daughter, wife, and mother.
While Piedad Córdoba risked her life, and Hugo Chávez his constitutional reform referendum, the myth grew before the naive eyes of whoever believed that their good intentions were being recognized by family, the communications media and even the French government. They didn’t understand that they were only being used.
Ingrid was converted into an international symbol of FARC cruelty, while the anonymous soldiers and guerrillas continued to rot in the jungle or in prison. Their mothers were not invited to Aló Presidente and no-one interviewed them on Telesur.
The coveted trophy achieved her freedom at Uribe’s hand and returned to her class, ideology and hate-filled condition, as is only logical, against those who stole six years of her life. She was photographed together with Colombia’s war minister, called for Uribe’s re-election and, while in military dress, that she was a soldier against the FARC. She traveled to France and before the cameras, kissed one of the European presidents who is leading the charge for imprisonment of up to a year and a half for all the Colombians who arrive in Europe without papers. Neither Chávez nor Piedad are of any interest to her now. She’ll dirty herself with the mud from the hills and the calloused hands of the poor if they’ll go along with her, but for now she doesn’t need them to call the attention of international public opinion.
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.