Betancourt for president again?
Author: Elsa Cubero
Originally Published at Peace and Conflict Monitor on: 07/23/2008
Ingrid Betancourt has been all over the news recently, since
Colombian president Alvaro Uribe managed to rescue her – along with eleven
members of the Colombian security forces and three American military
contractors – from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Former candidate for president of Colombia, Betancourt, had
been held hostage since February 2002. She was captured on a mission with her
debate head, Clara Rojas, who was released last January.
Betancourt was rescued on July 2, 2008 in a daring raid by a
group of Colombian commandos, who disguised themselves as rebels and tricked
the guerrillas holding the captives into turning them over.
The main question these days is: Will Ingrid Betancourt run
for president of Colombia again?
The Miami Herald has printed that Betancourt is the
only potential candidate who could likely defeat the current president if he were
to seek re-election.
taken after her rescue show that she has an approval rating ranging from 71
percent to 83 percent; “If she can capitalize on the favorability and turn
sympathy for her suffering into political support for her proposals, she could
consolidate her political project by the 2010 elections,” says Mr Pérez.
While the Miami
Herald maintains that it is still too early to tell if Betancourt will be a
rival or an ally for the FARC; but they announced that, on the day of her
rescue, she praised Uribe’s leadership and denounced the FARC’s cruel treatment
of her – which, among other things, included keeping her in chains 24 hours a
day for three full years.
On the other
side of the world, Kuwait Times has brought up the question of Uribe’s
reelection: Will he try to change the constitution again – which enabled his
second term – so he can run again in 2010?
oppose the idea say it would put him in league with his continental rival, Hugo
Chavez of Venezuela, who has been widely branded autocratic for doing his
utmost to become president for life.
Herald went on to report that some analysts think the president, whose
rancher father was killed by the FARC rebels in a botched 1983 kidnapping, is
not actually interested in re-election so much as preserving his popular
influence among Colombians, called “Uribismo”.
On the matter,
political analyst Pedro Medellín for the Christian Science Monitor has
written that, “Ingrid Betancourt’s reappearance on the scene changes the
political chessboard even if she hasn’t made clear her intentions.”
For one thing,
the breathtaking rescue has (at least temporarily) eclipsed troubling questions
about the legitimacy of the 2006 elections. The day after the rescue, the Constitutional Court turned down a Supreme Court request to review the 2005 legislative
process that paved the way for Uribe’s second term.
Colombia‘s leading weekly news magazine Semana
published poll results indicating that the former hostage leads other possible
candidates for the presidency, not including the wildly popular incumbent who,
under the current rules, cannot run.
Betancourt said it was
too soon to say if she would return to Colombian politics, saying that Uribe
had done “very good things for Colombia,” but was quick to add:
“We are not on the same [political] side.”
In a separate interview
with France 24 television, Betancourt hinted she might try to find a
different role for herself in Colombia.
“Being president is
great. But not that great, after all, you can do other things,” she said.
Bio: Elsa Cubero is a journalism student from La Universidad Internacional de las Americas in Costa Rica.