Ingrid Betancourt announced recently that she presented a request for conciliation to the government of Colombia. Betancourt, who was kidnapped while campaigning for the presidency of Colombia in 2002, was freed with 14 other hostages by the Colombian military during its "Operation Checkmate" in July, 2008. The request is the first step in seeking compensation for the six years she spent in FARC captivity. The announcement elicited strong reactions from the Colombian government, with Vice President Francisco Santos calling Betancourt's petition "greedy, ungrateful and opportunistic, which deserves the rejection of all Colombians and world opinion."
But Betancourt said she is only pursuing reparations in order to set an example for others who have been kidnapped and want to seek compensation for their suffering.
"The idea was never to attack those who freed me. I love Colombia's military. I love my country," she said during an interview with Caracol TV. But she also claims that the government at the time did not adequately protect her during her presidential bid in 2002. "They took my bodyguards from me and let me continue by road," she said.
"They did not meet their responsibility to protect me as a presidential candidate," Betancourt concluded. "I was not irresponsible. I am not irresponsible."