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LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA We’ll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET. The military may have been inside the rebel group for years.Randi Kaye AC360° Correspondent I'm talking about the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC. They pretended to be moving the hostages to another jungle base but instead, when they got in the air in their helicopter, the military revealed who they really were.Clara Rojas, who became pregnant by a rebel and gave birth to a baby boy, was released in January 2008. “The commander once told me, ‘You’re going to be out here when you’re a grandmother,” she recalled. I thought it’s going be 10 or 20 more years of abduction. We went forth because we had the rifles in our backs.”But once the helicopter lifted off, it turned out the “rebels” were not what they seemed.Her son, who had been taken from her by the FARC, was found in the care of a peasant family, and returned to her. “He said, ‘You will be out when your hair will be on your heels.'”In July of that year – when Betancourt’s hair had grown waist-length – a helicopter team landed at the camp to transfer 14 of the hostages. Betancourt despaired that they would be moved even deeper into the Amazon. They quickly subdued several FARC guerillas who had accompanied the hostages aboard.“For me, the only thing that was important in those humiliating times, very hard, and some sadistic situations where we had the guards being violent and cruel, what I thought was always keeping my dignity, as much as I could preserving the respect I had for myself,” she said.At times hostages were released in prisoner exchanges or for humanitarian reasons.If we were lucky, we would be able to hang a hammock and stay in the hammock for the day under a mosquito net, but we could also be forced to just sleep on the floor on a plastic sheet.”As a member of Colombia’s elite, with dual French citizenship, Betancourt says, she was often treated with special harshness.”First, because I was a politician and no one likes politicians, especially the guerillas,” she said.“And whenever I tried to explain to them that I was fighting to change the system, they would turn and say, ‘Politicians always say the same.’ And they were right.
government's policy of never yielding to terrorists was put to a serious test last year in a case that related directly to the hostages held by the Colombian rebel group FARC. The Justice Department went ahead with prosecuting a senior FARC official - over the emotional protests of the hostages' families.But ridding Colombia of FARC is only the beginning, Betancourt said.“The first thing we have to fight in Colombia is corruption.“And then one of them shouted, ‘We’re the Colombian army and you’re free! In an elaborate operation, the Colombian army had tricked FARC commanders into unwittingly giving up their prisoners.
Betancourt was reunited with her family, including her two children, who had been 13 and 16 when she was captured.And I was a woman, and this is a very macho society, where they are very suspicious of women.” Betancourt and Rojas were not the only hostages.