Ingrid Betancourt was born in Colombia in 1961, but grew up in Paris surrounded by privilege and politics. Her father was a Colombian diplomat posted in a Parisian embassy, and her mother, a former Miss Colombia, served in the Congress representing the poor of Southern Bogota. In 1989, at the age of thirty, Ingrid Betancourt returned to Colombia to "do good" for her country. Her controversial but bold political style was quickly established when her first political campaign distributed condoms to represent that she would serve as "a protection against corruption, the AIDS of Colombia." Her flagrant fight to eradicate corruption from Colombian government is what gained her the support of the people and the repulsion of the authorities. Though her rash methods were often criticized, they gained her much media attention and she took a seat in the lower house in 1994 and became a senator in 1998. Once in position, Betancourt launched a presidential campaign in 2001. She was considered abrasive and difficult by other politicians, but remained a champion of the people, fighting against corruption, drugs, and violence, for a "new Colombia." She remained willing to take risks in contacting and offering help to the rural people, and so her popularity amongst civilians soared. Betancourt was traveling through Colombia for her campaign when a group of revolutionaries, the Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), kidnapped her and her chief of staff, Clara Rojas. Even though the incident received worldwide press coverage, there was little reaction from the Colombian government and despite staged marches in France, midnight vigils in Italy and vocal support from family and prominent figures for her release, Ingrid Betancourt spent six years in captivity before she was rescued in 2008. She became the face of over 700 Colombians imprisoned by the FARC, and to her supporters, still represents their only hope for a brighter Colombia.
"My relationship with death is like that of a tightrope walker: we're both doing something dangerous, and we've calculated the risks, but our love of perfection invariably overcomes our fear."