Ingrid Betancourt has returned to her native Colombia for the first time since her release from captivity in July. Betancourt was kidnapped back in 2002 by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and held for six years deep in the Colombian jungle.
Betancourt immediately met with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe upon her arrival from France said that one of her missions in returning to her homeland was to try to secure freedom for the rest of the hostages being held by rebel FARC troops in the jungles. "Contacts are frozen and a way has to be found to reach the FARC," she told the AP about the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Although she admitted that she considered herself "neither a mediator nor a facilitator" she repeated her pledge to do everything she could for the remaining captives. Betancourt carried a letter from Nicolas Sarkozy in which the French president promised to continue assisting in efforts to secure hostage releases in Colombia and grant asylum to a rebel who escorted a hostage to freedom last month. The FARC still has 28 high-value hostages in captivity, including politicians, soldiers and police.
Betancourt, 47, was unable to take part in last Friday's marches against kidnapping in Colombia due to security concerns. Apparently, Betancourt has been receiving death threats that have forced her to conceal most of the details of her itinerary in Latina America, fueling concerns from her friends and family about the safety of her Latin American tour. Regardless, the Colombiana said that she plans on traveling to Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela this week where she will thank South American leaders for their efforts to secure her release.