After six years in captivity, the former hostage Ingrid Betancourt and her children have finally been reunited. Lorenzo and Melanie were 16 and 13 years old the last time they saw their mother.
They flew to Bogotá as soon as the senator had been released from her captors, the FARC marxist guerrillas, in a daring Colombian military operation.
Betancourt, who holds dual French-Colombian nationality, described the reunion as an ‘orgy of kisses,’ confiding that she felt ‘close to paradise.’
Her daughter Melanie said the reunion was the toughest and most beautiful moment that she and her brother had experienced.
“To see them, to touch them, to take them in my arms… I imagined it would be good, but not as good as this. They’re marvellous, so beautiful.”
She was asked if she had ever seen photos of them.
“Never,” she replied.
Her husband said, “They have been very cruel to her, but she holds no hatred nor rancour. She’s gentle, generous and in a good mental condition.”
The French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner and Betancourt’s ex-husband Fabrice Delloye were there to help celebrate her freedom.