The happy ending is complete for newly-freed Ingrid Betancourt, who has been reunited with her two children in Colombia. “What I am feeling now is something very close to paradise,” the former FARC hostage told reporters at a military airport in Bogota.
Her beloved Melanie and Lorenzo were finally by her side, after flying in from France. Both have campaigned tirelessly for her liberation.
Their French father, Betancourt’s ex-husband Fabrice Delloye, was also on the plane from Paris dispatched by President Sarkozy’s government. Also on board was the freed captive’s sister, Astrid, and France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.
“They have grown up all alone with the anguish of not being with me,” Betancourt said, standing next to her children on the tarmac. “They have fought alone. They have found the resources to face up to the situation themselves, from the depths of their souls.”
Melanie Delloye acknowledged that she and others had always been against military operations, fearing a bloodbath. “We wanted to avoid putting mum and those held with her in danger,” she said.
Also speaking in Spanish, Kouchner thanked Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe, the people of Colombia and all those who had fought for Ingrid Betancourt’s liberation. Betancourt, 46, who has dual French and Colombian nationality, will fly to France tomorrow.