Betancourt Invites Presidents of The Americas to Join The Protest Against Kidnapping
By Dialogo November 14, 2008Bogota, 11 Nov (EFE).- Ingrid Betancourt, former hostage of FARC's guerrillas, invited Latin American Presidents today to join the protest that will take place this November 28th to demand the freedom of all kidnapped people in Colombia. The former Presidential candidate stated to several Colombian media representatives, joined to demand the freedom of hostages that remain under the rebels, that Christmas is the hardest time for the kidnapped. "You know that the whole world is preparing to spend that day with their families, and for you it is very sad, it is humiliating, it is lonely to know that you cannot spend that time with your beloved ones. Hence, Christmas is the worst time of the year; that is why we have to do something for all kidnapping victims this Christmas,” she said. Betancourt invited North American President-elect Barack Obama and all Latin American Presidents to join the cause against kidnapping in Colombia. "The international community has been alerted. On that day we must appeal to them, and we must ask President-elect Obama to help us liberate the kidnapped,” she stated. Additionally, she said that besides the Presidents who have started taking action on behalf of the kidnapped, such as Venezuelan Hugo Chavez, Equatorian Rafael Correa, Argentine Cristina Fernandez, and Chilean Michelle Bachelet, the rest have to be called as well. "We must call on Tabare Vazquez from Uruguay, President (Luiz Inácio) Lula da Silva from Brazil, President Alan Garcia from Peru, and Evo Morales from Bolivia, all the Presidents of the continent in order to help us rescue all those that are currently in the jungle," she added. Betancourt was held hostage by the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) from February 23rd, 2002, to last July 2nd , when an Army mission rescued her and other 14 hostages, three Americans among them. "My companions who are still in the jungle are going to know that a thousand Colombians will be protesting in the streets dressed in white t-shirts, demanding only this: life and freedom,” she said. The motto of the protest in favor of the hostages in Colombia, scheduled for this November 28th in that country and throughout the world, will be “United for life and freedom”. According to the National Network of Civic Initiative for Peace and Against War (Redepaz), the motto will be accompanied by the phrase “Christmas, time of peace.” That organization has organized the protest in conjunction with the Colombian mass media. The Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has proposed in a press release that the protests begin at 10:00 local time (15:00 GTM), and that they should gather in the central park or square of every urban center in the country. This is the third massive protest organized this year in this country to protest illegal armed groups or kidnapping, and it was proposed by French-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt about a month ago. The former Presidential candidate Betancourt suggested this new protest last October 24th in the Spanish city of Oviedo, where she had traveled to be granted the Principe de Asturias de la Concordia prize, which was awarded to her for representing the hostages.