Sarkozy Seeks Freedom for Seriously Ill FARC Hostage

April 03, 2008 03:39 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
French envoys arrived in Colombia Thursday to provide medical care for Ingrid Betancourt, who has been held by the FARC rebel group for six years.

30-Second Summary

The French government has not released details about the aircraft that left France yesterday and landed this morning in Bogota with at least one doctor.

The help arrived shortly after Betancourt’s son, Lorenzo Delloye Betancourt, said that his mother’s condition is becoming dire. He said Wednesday that she suffers from hepatitis B and needs a blood transfusion.

“Either you release mother and the other ill hostages or you will bury her in the coming hours. This will be my last appeal. We have reached the end," he said.

President Nicolas Sarkozy had given a televised speech the day before, imploring the guerrillas to release Betancourt, who is a French citizen: “You, who lead the FARC, you have a rendezvous with history. Don't miss it.”

France has taken an active role in pressing for Betancourt’s release since she was kidnapped in 2002.

Betancourt was born in Colombia, raised in France, and married a French diplomat. She returned to Colombia in 1989, where she became a member of the Chamber of Representatives in 1994 and then a senator in 1998.

A vocal opponent of FARC, she was kidnapped by the rebel group while she was campaigning for the presidential election in FARC-controlled territory.

FARC was created in 1964 as the “military wing of the Colombian Communist Party.” In early March, Colombian authorities crossed the border into Ecuador killing 24 FARC members, and inciting confrontations with Ecuador and Venezuela, although the situation was diffused after a week.

Headline Links: Medical help arrives in Colombia for Betancourt

Related Link: Betancourt’s 2007 letter to her mother

Video: ‘Hostage's Son Appeals For Release’

Key Players: Betancourt, FARC, and Colombia’s president

Ingrid Betancourt
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe

Background: Recent developments in Colombia

‘South American Tensions High After Colombian Raid’
'FARC Frees Four Hostages’
‘Colombian Rebels Stay on Terror List Despite Chavez’

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