Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio is a French-Colombian politician and anti-corruption activist. In February 2002 Betancourt was kidnapped by the leftist guerrilla organization Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) while she was campaigning for the presidential elections. She was finally rescued by Colombian security forces six and a half years later, in an operation dubbed Operation Jaque, which also rescued 14 other hostages. Her kidnapping received worldwide coverage, particularly in France, because of her dual French citizenship. In 2010 she wrote a memoir about her time in captivity called "Even Silence Has an End."
Question: What idea has most changed your life?
Ingrid Betancourt: Well I think that one of the things that helped me the most in this new life of freedom is the consciousness that there is a freedom that nobody can take away from you, which is to decide what kind of person you want to be. And of course in the jungle chained and subjected to many things that was obvious, but here I find that many times we have so many reasons to just accept the least of ourselves that we can be... there are two like poles in a human being; one who wants to be a cockroach and wants to just you know get it easy and go and feed with rubbish and one that wants to be like an eagle and have perspective and things and fly away very high. And we have to decide which one we want to prefer in our lives. And I think that this society we’re in allows us too much to be like cockroach. We’re too passive. We’re feeding on too much rubbish and I think we should strive to just shrug away that comfort zone and be able to get the most of each one of us, which means restructuring the way we deal with time and the priorities we have in life, so being what we want to be I think should be something that we should keep in mind.
Recorded on October 19, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller