EL ESPECTADOR, January 18, 2022

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

As was being rumored, the former Senator will enter the presidential race as part of the alliance of the center. According to her announcement, she is trying to finish the task she began twenty years ago, before she was kidnapped by the FARC.

Ingrid Betancourt has been managing her effort to attain the Presidency very prudently. This Tuesday the former Senator officially announced her intention to enter the race for President as part of the Centro Esperanza Coalition, which she joined several months ago, but without making clear what her political role would be in the Coalition.

“Twenty years ago, as the Green Oxygen Party candidate for President, I was kidnapped while I was campaigning against the corrupt system and confronting the corrupt party machineries. Today I am here to finish what I started along with many of you, with the conviction that Colombia is ready to change its direction and carry out its appointment with its history,” said Betancourt.

In that regard, she explained, she will participate as a candidate in the Centro Esperanza Coalition primary election on March 13, and “I will work hard to be your President.” Betancourt will not be the only Green Oxygen candidate for President. The party will also support Sergio Fajardo and Carlos Amaya, who have not collected signatures and have no group in support of their candidacy.

“There can be no greater privilege than to support Humberto de la Calle, as well as Sergio Fajardo and Carlos Amaya, who are the sons of Green Oxygen values. It’s with great pride that life has given us the possibility of being the home of these great men and sharing that possibility with all of Colombia,” she stated at the commencement of her group.

Regarding her reasons for running and returning to politics, Betancourt indicated that her comrades in her coalition were behind it, urging her to do it, as well as the need to have women candidates in the presidential primary races.

“The Coalition needed the presence of a woman, of a person that would speak in a different way. I carry a different Colombia in my heart, because my life has been different. It’s a career of pain, but also of faith and hope, one that millions of Colombians have experienced, and they have not given up,” she added.

Her kickoff speech was centered specifically on her situation as a victim and a survivor of kidnapping, which permitted, at the same time, some frontal criticism of the demobilized guerrillas, and discussion of how they had managed to promote the idea that the kidnapping was her own fault. “My story is the story of every Colombian because, while my comrades and I were in chains, Colombian families were also in the chains of corruption, insecurity, violence, and injustice.”

Her campaign, she predicted, will be focused on the frontal battle against corruption, which she said is feeding the poverty and injustice. “I am going to reclaim the rights of the 51 million Colombians that don’t receive justice, because we live in a country where impunity is guaranteed. That system wants us just to accept our destiny, where it’s impossible to escape the corruption, because it’s our culture, it’s how we are, that we all benefit from the scams and the bribes, and they want us to turn into cynics, self-seeking, crooked. We won’t be that,” she insisted.

“Recently I was accused of coming back looking for political advantage. Yes, I have come back to seek the greatest political benefit there is: that everybody here can live in a real democracy. I come to reclaim the right to fight for my extended family, which is all of you,” she commented as a quotation. Betancourt is entering a coalition composed of Sergio Fajardo, Jorge Robledo, Carlos Amaya, Alejandro Gaviria, Juan Fernando Cristo, and Juan Manuel Galán. In the next few days, the former Minister of the Environment, Luis Gilberto Murillo, will also join the primary. Colombian Revival, the Party that came out of the Afro-Colombian Special Circumscription for Peace, will certainly support him.

Long before she made her official announcement, some members of the coalition were celebrating her decision. “Welcome, Ingrid and Luis Gilberto to the inter-party primary of the Centro Esperanza Coalition. With her knowledge, her experience, and vision for this country, she will enrich the debate about how to change Colombia, without anger or hate,” wrote Sergio Fajardo on Twitter.

“The decisions by Ingrid and Luis Gilberto to participate in the presidential primary of the Centro Esperanza Coalition is good news for the political center, and the bid for peaceful change in Colombia. Her contribution to the debate will be very valuable. A big welcome to her,” was Juan Fernando Cristo’s opinion.

For his part, Jorge Robledo gave the news his approval. “Excellent decision by Ingrid Betancourt to be a primary candidate for President for Centro Esperanza Coalition 2022. The women of Colombia will be very well represented in this project of democratic unity and real change. Welcome, much valued Ingrid.”

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