Freed hostage Betancourt to write play about her captivity

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The freed hostage says she will write a play about her experience which will plumb the soul of the human condition.

7 July 2008

PARIS - Ingrid Betancourt, freed from six years of captivity in a Colombian jungle, plans to write a play about her experience that she said in an interview published Sunday will plumb the soul of the human condition.

"People must understand," she was quoted as saying in the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche. But she said she needs to show, not tell, her story, "what we are in the depths of our being."

"We can be angels, but we can also be demons for the other," she said.

The paper said that Betancourt, 46, a citizen of both France and Colombia, would meet with a publishing house Monday or Tuesday.

Betancourt, a Colombian senator who was campaigning for the presidency when she was captured in 2002 by rebel insurgents, was freed along with 14 other hostages - three Americans and 11 Colombians - in a daring army operation Wednesday. She came to France, where her two children live, on Friday.

Since her arrival in Paris, she has maintained a nonstop schedule, clearly having lost none of the drive that propelled her into a danger zone where she was captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC.

She and four Colombian police officers sent a radio message to hostages still in rebel hands on Sunday.

Radio France International said she would send a message of support in Spanish on Monday, like the kind she received from her children, Melanie and Lorenzo, on the RFI airwaves since December.

Betancourt has vowed in various interviews with the French media to work for the freedom of the remaining hostages, who could number in the hundreds.

Meanwhile, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is promising to nominate Betancourt for the Nobel Peace Prize. Bachelet told Chile's La Nacion newspaper Sunday that she would lobby for Betancourt.

Bachelet said the rescue was a "great victory for democracy, peace and freedom."

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner reiterated a French denial of a ransom for the release of the hostages, rescued in a daring ruse by Colombian army intelligence officers who posed as humanitarian workers preparing for a possible hostage swap.

Colombia also has strongly denied a Swiss radio report alleging that USD 20 million was paid to the FARC for the hostages' freedom.

"I never heard talk of money ... and very clearly there was no French money," Le Journal du Dimanche quoted Kouchner as saying. He praised the Colombian army operation.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had made freeing Betancourt a top priority, was, embarrassingly for him, among the last to know that she was freed.

[AP / Expatica]

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