Thirty-six million dollars, or just over 31 million euros. This is the amount of compensation that the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), now demobilized, should pay to the son of Ingrid Betancourt, the former Franco-Colombian hostage, according to the decision of a federal judge of Pennsylvania, Thursday January 13.
Mme Bétancourt, now 60, was a candidate for the presidency of the Republic at the time of her abduction on a remote road in the south of the country in 2002. She spent more than six years in captivity. In 2016, his captors signed the peace and laid down their arms.
Lawrence Delloye – then called Lorenzo – was 13 when his mother was abducted. He spent his teenage years waiting for her, unaware for long periods of time if she was still alive. The court noted that the young man had experienced a “significant emotional anguish”.
Colombian by his mother, French by his father, the young Delloye, born in California, is also an American citizen. It is in this capacity that he was able to seize American justice and benefit from the anti-terrorism law. His lawyers filed a complaint in 2018 in Pennsylvania where one of Ingrid Betancourt’s jailers is serving a twenty-year prison sentence for cocaine trafficking.
The American judge jointly condemned the organization and thirteen of its former commanders, including Luciano Marin, alias Ivan Marquez. Official negotiator of the 2016 peace agreement, he is one of the few guerrilla leaders who have taken over the maquis.
No reaction from Ingrid Betancourt
For criminal lawyer Gerardo Barbosa: “The decision of the American civil justice has an important symbolic value. But, by its amount and by the situation of the FARC, it will probably have no practical effect. » Before the Tribunal for Peace, set up by the peace agreement, the former commanders of the FARC acknowledged their responsibility for the practice of kidnappings. And asked for forgiveness from their victims.
Friday evening, Ingrid Betancourt had still not reacted to the legal victory of her son. But she was getting pinned on social media. Some criticize him for his supposed lure of profit. The others its international visibility, which would overshadow the anonymous victims. Her continued support for the peace negotiations earned her criticism from the hard right.
During all these years, she reappeared only occasionally in her country. At the end of 2021, she made a discreet return to the political scene with a view to the legislative and presidential elections of 2022. « Verde Oxigeno » (Green Oxygen), the party she had created to launch her candidacy twenty years ago, regained its legal existence. Mme Betancourt, who would have declined an offer of candidacy for the vice-presidency, claims to have no other ambition than to “to liberate his country sequestered by corruption”. It is not sure that the decision of the Pennsylvania judge serves his speech.