Ingrid Betancourt was a presidential candidate in Colombia in 2002 when she was kidnapped by guerilla rebels. She has stayed in captivity for six years and with a high-profile rescue, she now opens up on what she has learned about fear, forgiveness and divine.
In 2002, the guerilla movement in Colombia known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) kidnapped Betancourt when she was in the middle of her presidential campaign. For six years ever since, Betancourt was held hostage in the jungle prison camps where she was devastated by numerous diseases and other harsh conditions including malaria, fleas, hunger and human cruelty until her recent rescue by the Colombian government.
In her recent deeply personal talk on Ted, the politician expressed her experience on what it’s like to live in a perpetual state of fear — and how her faith sustained her. She is now a writer and a peace advocate and for the first time, she writes about the fear that she has never felt in her entire life since people used to perceive her as brave.
Betancourt was born courageous and she liked facing challenges of all kinds including climbing tall trees and approaching any animal fearlessly. When she entered into Colombian politics she expected to withstand any temperatures. She was determined to end corruption in her country; she wanted to cut all links that existed between politicians and the drug traffickers. When she was elected the first time, it was because she daringly called out the corrupt and untouchable politicians including the president and his cartels.
Since then, Betancourt started receiving threats. She had to relocate her young children out of the country before the worst happened to her. After a year, she was elected with the highest number of votes. But in February 2002, when she was busy campaigning for her presidency, she was approached by a group of armed men who took her in captive only to learn later that these were FARC guerrillas. She gives people hope that even though fear can overwhelm you, there is always a chance to rise above it.