(AFP) – Jul 9, 2008
BOGOTA (AFP) — Colombian politician and former hostage Ingrid Betancourt vowed in an interview broadcast here late Tuesday not to cut her hair until the FARC rebels in Colombia's jungle free all her fellow captives.
Betancourt, who was rescued last week from Colombian Marxist guerrillas after six years in captivity and is now with her family in France, made the vow in an interview with Caracol television from her hotel in Paris.
"I am not going to cut my hair until the day that the last of my fellow prisoners returns home," she said, one week after she was freed together with 14 others in a daring and dramatic rescue by Colombian commandos last Wednesday.
The 15 were part of a group of at least 39 prisoners, civilians and soldiers, that the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) had sought to exchange for 500 of its own members jailed by the government.
Betancourt, 46, emerged from captivity with hair stretching down her back to her waist.
"It is not easy hair. It's complicated to take care of; I have to braid it because it is not comfortable to wear it loose," she said.
"But it has been like this for all these years because I wanted it as visual proof of all the time passed in the jungle," she said.
"Every centimeter of this hair represents months in captivity."
On Tuesday Betancourt, who also holds French nationality, received tributes and a standing ovation from the French Senate.
She is due to address the French National Assembly on Wednesday and will receive the Legion of Honour, France's highest distinction, from President Nicolas Sarkozy during Bastille Day celebrations on July 14.
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