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Cablegate: Bogota Nominates Ingrid Betancourt for the 2009

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5272
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1240
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RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 6687
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id: 175435
date: 10/27/2008 20:58
refid: 08BOGOTA3909
origin: Embassy Bogota
classification: UNCLASSIFIED
destination: 08STATE99729
header:
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DE RUEHBO #3909/01 3012058
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FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5272
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1240
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ OCT 9737
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 6687
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 2562
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 7374
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4659
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY


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UNCLAS BOGOTA 003909

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR FR CO
SUBJECT: BOGOTA NOMINATES INGRID BETANCOURT FOR THE 2009
SECRETARY'S AWARD FOR WOMEN OF COURAGE

REF: STATE 99729

1. Embassy Bogota nominates Ingrid Betancourt for the 2009
Secretary's Award for Women of Courage.

2. Below are the requested details (see reftel) for the
nomination:

Full Legal Name of Nominee: Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio
Job Title/Association: Activist
Date of Birth: 25 December 1961
Country of Birth: Colombia
Citizenship: Colombian/French
Address: France
Telephone: N/A
Email: N/A
Passport Number: PO024432 (expired)

Note: We have been notified by the Committee in Support of
Ingrid Betancourt that they are not allowed to provide her
personal email and telephone. They provided the name and
email of her personal assistant, Marie Duval,
marieduvalgreen@gmail.com, who would coordinate Betancourt's
travel plans.

Justification:

After being held hostage for more than six years in the
Colombian jungle, Ingrid Betancourt has become a worldwide
symbol of freedom and human resistance in the face of severe
hardship. Her struggle in favor of democracy has been an
encouraging example of dignity and valor. Even before her
harrowing ordeal of being held hostage for more than six
years by the vicious terrorist group the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (FARC), Betancourt was a staunch supporter
of human rights, anti-corruption, democracy promotion, and
peace in Colombia. Since her rescue from captivity on July
2, 2008, she continues to work to encourage peace and
national reconciliation efforts in Colombia as an
international activist based in France.

Throughout her life, Ingrid Betancourt has striven to promote
human rights and peace. Her political career commenced in
1994, when she stood for parliament as a candidate for the
governing Liberal Party. In public service, she focused on
fostering democracy and social justice, as well as fighting
corruption, drug trafficking and violence. She abandoned the
Liberal Party in 1998 due to then-President Ernesto Samper's
receipt of campaign funds from narcotraffickers and ran for
the Senate on the Green Oxygen Party ticket. She resigned
office to stand in the presidential elections for the New
Colombia Movement in 2002, the year in which she was
kidnapped by the FARC along with her campaign manager and
running mate, Clara Rojas. Rojas was freed by the FARC on
January 10, 2008.

She wrote two books during her period in public service: "Si
Sabia" ("Yes He Knew" which was published in 1996) about the
funding of President Samper's presidential campaign by the
Cali Cartel, and an autobiography, "La Rabia en el Corazon,"
which was published in 2001, (in English as "Until Death Do
Us Part: My Struggle to Reclaim Colombia"), in which she
criticized the widespread corruption among Colombia's
political elite. She has also published a collection of her
letters to her mother from captivity. Her kidnapping led to
strong public responses and calls for solidarity and freedom
throughout the world.

Currently based in Paris, France, Betancourt remains an
international activist focused on seeking peaceful
resolutions to the conflict in Colombia. She continues to
urge the FARC to free the hundreds of remaining hostages they
hold captive, and has also called on the FARC and the
Government of Colombia to find a negotiated and lasting
solution to end Colombia's 44 year-old conflict. She is
calling for a national march in Colombia on November 28 in
honor of the remaining hostages. On October 24, Betancourt
received in Spain the 2008 Prince of Asturias Award for
Concord for promoting understanding between people around the
world. In her acceptance speech, she called on the
international community to continue its support for a
peaceful resolution of the conflict in Colombia. She has
been named an Honorary Citizen of more than a thousand cities
in over twenty countries. She also received France's

prestigious Legion d'Honneur and was nominated for the Nobel
Peace Prize.

3. Ms. Betancourt was notified of her nomination on October
24 by Embassy Paris via a letter from Ambassador Craig
Stapleton and we plan to follow up with her this week to
verify her willingness to travel to Washington in March 2009
if she is chosen.
BROWNFIELD

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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