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Betancourt sues the people who saved her

Betancourt sues Commandos who risked their lives to save her

 By Judi McLeod  Saturday, July 10, 2010

imageColombians are outraged at the news that former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt is going to sue their country for a whopping $7 million for being kidnapped.

“It’s like a Colombian soap opera come to life,” Bogota Free Planet (BFP) publisher Jorges Luis Pardo told Canada Free Press (CFP) this morning.  “She is suing the very people who put their lives at risk to save her.”

Soon after her release, Betancourt divorced her husband and departed for France where she was feted by President Nicolas Sarkozy as a France and Colombia dual citizen.

On Feb. 23, 2002,  Betancourt ignored all warnings going into areas of Colombia known for their strong FARC presence to campaign as president.

Held hostage by the Marxist guerrillas of FARC, Betancourt was one of 15 people set free in a high-profile helicopter mission on July 2, 2008 when Colombian commandos deftly and daringly posed as humanitarian and aid workers to free the hostages.  Freed in the rescue mission were three U.S. military contractors and 11 Colombian police officers and soldiers.

Tears of joy were shed worldwide when scenes of the freed hostages flashed from television screens.  Some won’t forget how those scenes were dominated by Betancourt and her mother, with Betancourt doffing her hat to reveal “intricately braided dark hair, with plaits and a white flower”. (guardian.co.uk, July, 2008).  Many Colombians were straining to see past Betancourt and her mother, to catch a glimpse of a loved one freed among the 11 average Colombians.

The Colombian commandos who pulled off the daring mission were lauded as heroes.

Colombia’s defense ministry revealed the Betancourt request for $7 million yesterday, declaring its “surprise and sorrow” at the news.

“If you ask me, it seems in very bad taste, very badly done.  One does not do this. She has no case,” Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos said. 

Defense ministry spokesman Luis Manuel Neira said members of Colombia’s military risked their lives to free Betancourt in an operation that she herself had “described as `perfect’.”

Betancourt, who has spent little time in Colombia since her release, was back in Bogota on July 2 for a military ceremony honoring her and the other rescued hostages.

A story showing a crass politician at heart is starting to unravel at Betancourt’s edges.

In a memoir published last year, the U.S. military contractors rescued along with her painted an unflattering portrait of Betancourt, describing her as someone who hoarded belongings and threw temper tantrums during their time in the rebel camp.

Betancourt’s memoirs are expected to be published in September.

Betancourt, who promised to crusade for the release of Colombians still held hostage by FARC,  has not taken her crusade beyond radio and television interviews.

The big question about the Betancourt lawsuit is why she didn’t sue her captors, who are said to be in wealthy pocket from drug money.

Meanwhile, Betancourt is being portrayed as a common gold digger in Internet comments to the lawsuit story.

“Can she be counter-sued for blaming in the eyes of the world her government and the people who risked their lives to rescue her?” asked one commenter.

“We have long memories and coming from a country marked by political unrest, always recognize greedy politicians when we see them,” says Pardo.

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Judi McLeod  Bio
Judi McLeod Most recent columns

Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. A former Toronto Sun columnist, she also worked for the Kingston Whig Standard. Her work has appeared on Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, and Glenn Beck.

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