“Writing this book was the only way for me to tell my family what happened,” said Betancourt,who was running for president when she was kidnapped in 2002. “I also wanted with this book to give meaning to my life.”
She discussed the book,”Even Silence Has An End,” Wednesday at the National Press Club.
“I'm still very hurt with Colombia,” Betancourt said,”because it was unfair to my family and me. We have suffered a lot.”
Betancourt,48,who holds French and Colombian citizenship,denied that her actions the day she was taken made her responsible for her own kidnapping. She said FARC is to blame.
“FARC is no longer a guerrilla movement. It's an organization whose only interest is its control of small areas of Colombia to keep doing business with drug-trafficking.”
On the day in 2002 when Betancourt and her vice-presidential candidate,Clara Rojas,were abducted,they were on the way to a political rally in the town of San Vicente. She said she remembers a heavy presence of Colombian army soldiers.
She said the government could have stopped her at
any of several checkpoints she passed to prevent her from falling into FARC's hands. The government has said she should not have gone to San Vicente because it wasn't safe.
“The government didn't provide me bodyguards or security of any kind,” Betancourt said. “I was a presidential candidate,and I was entitled to that.”
Because she came from a privileged background,Betancourt said her captors treated her worse than most of her fellow hostages.
“FARC gave me a very special treatment,” Betancourt said,”as being chained to a tree for days or being the only hostage who cannot talk with the rest. I represented all that was bad for them,and they hated me.”
She was the only female hostage in her camp most of the time – Rojas was held elsewhere. Betancourt burst in tears during her talk when she recalled the daily humiliation of doing her bodily functions or bathing in a camp populated by male guards and prisoners.
Betancourt intends for her book to raise awareness about the rest of FARC's hostages,whose profiles and stories aren't as well know as hers. As of 2008,FARC held 776 hostages,according to Free Country Foundation,a Colombian nonprofit group.
Recently,Rojas accused Betancourt of writing false allegations in her book regarding the name of the guerrilla guard who is the father of Rojas'son. Rojas gave birth while she was a hostage,and she and the baby were released before Betancourt was.
Betancourt said Rojas is wrong.
“In Colombia,amazing things happens,” Betancourt said. “They are commenting on things that aren't in the book. I won't comment on things that aren't in the book. Just read the book.”
Betancourt divides her time between New York and Paris. She said her experience in captivity left her disappointed with Colombian politics.
“I won't do politics in Colombia,” Betancourt said. “I don't want to be a politician any more. But I don't say that in the future I won't do it again,because I'm still having a dream for a better Colombia.”