Ex-hostages leap to Betancourt's defence

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Ex-hostages leap to Betancourt's defence

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Former hostages of the Colombian FARC guerillas have been defending the character of Ingrid Betancourt.

Three other captives – Americans Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes and Marc Gonsalves – have written a book containing claims that she was arrogant, she stole food, and put the authors’ lives in danger by telling the rebel guards that the authors were CIA agents. But former hostage Orlando Beltran disagreed: “I can say that Ingrid Betancourt is a brave and aggressive woman. On several occasions she insulted the guerillas for behaviour she did not agree with. I have a lot of respect for Ingrid for being brave enough to try to escape from captivity four times. Did these American men ever think about trying to escape from the guerillas?” And another freed captive, Sigifredo Lopez, said: “I’m sorry but I will not put down my copy of Borges or Shakespeare in order to read this book by the Americans.” Betancourt was captured by the Marxist rebel group while campaigning for the Presidency early in 2002. She was freed along with the three American authors in a daring military rescue last year.