What is wrong with Ingrid Betancourt? The most charitable explanation is that she is absolutely terrible at public relations. Her first act upon being rescued from six years in FARC captivity last year was to leave her faithful, long-suffering husband. Then she moved to France – her other nationality – and now she’s asking the Colombian government – the government that mounted a hugely complicated, daring operation to rescue her – for US$6.8mn in damages for the kidnapping ordeal.
There are plenty of people who would be within their rights to demand monetary compensation from the Colombian military, but Betancourt? And really, is this the best she’s got?
A smart person and a good politician would have been able to leverage her kidnapping experience into a few speaking engagements, a visiting professorship, several seats on the boards of NGOs, and a profitable book about a humbling journey that made one spiritually stronger, etc.
And then, who knows? Public office? A UN Rapporteurship? A lobbying position?
But when Betancourt stepped off that helicopter and onto the public stage, she spontaneously combusted, and she’s been burning ever since. La Silla Vacia tries to argue that this latest tone-deaf move is part of her history of chasing after money. But as I just noted, there are all sorts of ways Betancourt could have turned her ordeal into money had she been so inclined. Sell the movie rights, for Christ’s sake.
Only someone who feels both completely indifferent to the opinions of average people and totally entitled to special treatment from authority could do something this boneheaded. This isn’t Betancourt the almost-martyr presidential candidate, Colombia’s angel of suffering before FARC brutality and the gaze of all the world.
This is Betancourt the aristocrat, and it makes one think that maybe the gringos were right.