Feature

Author of the week: Ingrid Betancourt

In her new memoir, Even Silence Has an End, Betancourt reveals that she tried to escape from her Columbian guerrilla captors six times before being rescued. 

Six years in captivity changed Ingrid Betancourt in ways she would never have imagined, said Emma Brockes in the London Guardian. The former Colombian senator was campaigning for president in 2002 when she was kidnapped by guerrillas and taken to a jungle camp, where she was often chained by the neck. “They were wolves after me, in the most cruel way,” she says. But she and fellow prisoners also went through intense struggles with one another. “It was a battle,” she says, “with the inner us. Because we lost the compass of what was good and what was right.”

In a new memoir Betan­court acknowledges that some fellow captives resented her rebelliousness because it caused them more suffering, said Jocelyn Noveck in the Associated Press. When the guards held roll call, she refused to answer to a number instead of her name, and she attempted escape six times before the group was rescued. Some rifts among the captives still haven’t been mended, she admits in Even Silence Has an End. “We were able to forgive those guys who could kill us,” she says, “but we could not forgive the person who was suffering with us.” Betancourt blames the bad feelings on the powerlessness they all felt, and she trusts in time’s healing power. Meanwhile, she’s keeping a promise she’d made to herself to take more time for small pleasures if she ever regained freedom. “I never say no to ice cream,” she says.

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