Colombian Activist
5:12 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Former Colombian Hostage To Share Her Story In Spokane

SPOKANE -- A former hostage to the Colombian guerrilla army will tell her story in Spokane on Wednesday. Ingrid Betancourt ran for the Colombian presidential seat in 2002. Her run came to a quick end when the FARC guerilla army captured her, and held her for more than six years in the jungle. Paige Browning has more on the activist’s only public appearance in the U.S. this year.

Ingrid Betancourt ran for the Colombian presidential seat in 2002. Her run came to a quick end when the FARC guerilla army captured her, and held her for more than six years in the jungle.

Gonzaga University’s president, Dr. Thayne McCulloh, says he asked her to come share her story as part of the Presidential Speaker Series. It has been roughly four years since she was rescued.

“I think very few people have had the opportunity to personally interact with someone who has been held in captivity,” McCulloh says.

Ms. Betancourt said in an interview from Paris, France that she’s heard positive things about social activism within the GU community, and she plans to share vividly about her time as a hostage.

“And the thoughts that were related to that kind of experience. But they also wanted to see a little deeper, all the spiritual outcomes of an ordeal like the one I lived through,” Betancourt says.

Dr. McCulloh says plans to ask about the role of spirituality during her time in captivity.

“She was held captive for a long period of time against her will, and I do think that it is important for people to have an opportunity to understand from the voice of direct experience what something like that might be like," McCulloh says. "How that might change an individuals perspective of the world, or other people.”

“Well I think it was central, in the sense that all of us humans, we are all able to overcome a situation like the one I faced because we have our own resources inside of us, and we can fight for being alive, and also fight for our freedom,” Betancourt says.

Ms. Betancourt says some of her fellow hostages had a rough time after being liberated because they didn’t seek strength internally during captivity.

Betancourt: “I think it’s linked to the fact that when they were in captivity, they were facing ordeal in a way that was not good for them, for their soul.”

Ten hostages who Ms. Betancourt knew are still being held by FARC. She says they have about 300 hostages total, though they recently promised to not capture any new ones.

She now spends her time working to get all FARC hostages free. She also studies theology at Oxford, and spends as much time with her two young adult children as she can.

Ms. Betancourt visits Spokane for the first time Wednesday night. Ticket information is available at www.Gonzaga.edu.

Copyright 2012 Spokane Public Radio