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News ::
Greens Hold Vigil for Kidnapped Candidate Betancourt at Colombian Embassy in DC
25 Feb 2002
Green Party members across the U.S. and around
the world rally after the kidnapping of the Green
Party candidate for President of Colombia

For immediate release:
Monday, February 25, 2002

Nancy Allen, Media Coordinator, 207-326-4576,
nallen (at)
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624,
scottmclarty (at)


Green Party members across the U.S. and around
the world rally after the kidnapping of the Green
Party candidate for President of Colombia

WHAT: Vigil at the Embassy of Colombia, 2118
Leroy Place, NW, Washington, D.C. (a few blocks
north of the Dupont Circle Metro Station, off
Connecticut Avenue two blocks north of the
Florida Avenue intersection)

WHEN: Monday, February 25, 2002, at 6 p.m.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Members of the Green Party
and others concerned about the kidnapping of
Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid
Betancourt will gather for a vigil at 6 p.m. on
Monday, February 25, in front of the Embassy of
Colombia in Washington, D.C. Greens are calling
on the Colombian and U.S. governments to do
everything possible for the immediate and safe
release of Betancourt and Clara Rojas, her
campaign director, who was also kidnapped,
reportedly by FARC rebels.

Betancourt, the candidate of the Partido Verde
Oxígeno (Green Oxygen Party), was traveling to
the city of San Vicente del Caguán for a human
rights rally when she was abducted. The mayor of
San Vicente del Caguán, Néstor León Ramírez, is
also a member of the Green Party.

"Ingrid Betancourt is an eloquent, passionate,
and courageous spokesperson for peace in her
country," said Tod Sloan, co-chair of the
International Committee of the Green Party of the
United States. "Her life has already been
threatened numerous times by those who profit
from the ongoing conflict."

Ingrid Betancourt had defied warnings from the
Colombian government in traveling through a war
zone, but the government declined to provide
protection that she had requested in preparation
for the trip. CNN reported that Colombian
President Andrés Pastrana, under the kind of
heavy protection apparently denied to opposing
candidates, visited the same region on Sunday
that Betancort was trying to reach on Saturday.

According to a February 24 statement from the
'Ingrid For President' Campaign, "Ingrid
Betancourt has been an tireless defender of
political negotiation as the only solution to the
armed conflict that Colombia has suffered and has
said on various occasions that violence only
produces more violence."

Betancourt has criticized both the violence of
the leftist FARC rebels and the current Colombian
government's corruption and collusion with outlaw
rightwing paramilitaries. The Pastrana
administration canceled negotiations between the
two sides on Thursday, February 21, after the
rebels hijacked an airplane and kidnapped a

Greens in the U.S. have joined Betancourt and the
Colombian Greens in opposing the the role of the
U.S. government in training the Colombian
military in police terror and torture tactics at
the School of the Americas, the destruction of
large amounts of Colombia's fertile land in the
name of the War on Drugs, and other policies that
have terrorized and impoverished the Colombian
people and ruined the Colombian environment.

"Ingrid is one of those exceptional human beings
whose brilliance is found in her spirit of
determination and dedication to ending the
violence in her country," said Annie Goeke,
co-chair of the International Committee, who met
Betancourt during the Federation of the Green
Parties of the Americas meeting in Oaxaca, Mexico
in 2000 and the Global Greens 2001 conference in
Canberra, Australia. "She is the of same quality
and class as Petra Kelly, Rigoberta Menchu,
Vandana Shiva, Eleanor Roosevelt, Fannie Lou
Hamer, Rosa Parks, Rosa Luxemburg, Bella Abzug,
Aung San Suu Kyi, Wangari Maathai, and Arundhati
Roy. Let us do everything we can to ensure that
we do not lose this gem."

Greens have initiated the international Green
Shield Alert that calls upon elected Green
officials and Green and other progressive
activists to press their respective governments
to join the call for Betancourt's release.
"Greens worldwide are united and will not
tolerate such actions that are against the
international human rights," added Annie Goeke.


The Green Party of the United States

Partido Verde Oxígeno (Green Oxygen Party of

Global Greens 2001 conference profile and interview with Ingrid

Until Death Do Us Part: My Struggle to Reclaim
Colombia. Memoir by Ingrid Betancourt (Ecco
Press, 2001).

See also:
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