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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing real life story
I lived in Colombia and worked at the American Embassy from 1988 until 1990, during which time I met - or at least heard of - many of the people mentioned in this book. After leaving Colombia, I lost touch with what was going on. Ingrid Betancourt's amazing book not only brought me back to the horror of the late 80's - Galan's death, the bombins and other atrocities...
Published on June 8 2002

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1.0 out of 5 stars MISLEADING, SPOILED AND UNREALISTIC
Where has this writer been living? Where is that country she depicts so badly? This book is just another unfortunate, but very representative dimension of a divided society, where spoiled rich kids produced the official vision of reality, and then cry out having to endure from the distance, views of violent worlds themselves have been creating in their backyards for...
Published on Feb. 5 2002


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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing real life story, June 8 2002
By A Customer
I lived in Colombia and worked at the American Embassy from 1988 until 1990, during which time I met - or at least heard of - many of the people mentioned in this book. After leaving Colombia, I lost touch with what was going on. Ingrid Betancourt's amazing book not only brought me back to the horror of the late 80's - Galan's death, the bombins and other atrocities waged by Pablo Escobar, but also brought me up to date on the current political realities in Colombia. Knowing that she has been kidnapped, I read the book to see why. It's obvious that she has managed to seriously irritate every power center in Colombia: the political establishment; the narcos; the guerillas; the paramilitaries. I read this book in one day, but its message will live with me for a long time. Colombia needs politicians like Ingrid Betancourt. As a mother, I also sympathise with her when she had to sacrifice the right to keep her children by her side in exchange for their safety. I can only hope and pray that she is released by her kidnappers, although I don't hold much hope at this point in time (more than 3 months later). Viva Ingrid!
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4.0 out of 5 stars If only politicians in the US were this courageous..., March 26 2002
By 
"sailor_doc2" (Oakland, CA United States) - See all my reviews
For anyone who cares about justice and democracy for our brothers and sisters to the south, read this book. For anyone who is cynical about our own democracy, and is disturbed by the beating our civil liberties are taking these days, read this book. For anyone who wants to understand the love of a mother for her children, read this book.
Ingrid Betancourt chose to insert herself into a political climate in Columbia that is rife with corruption, blackmail, intimidation, and sometimes, murder.
On February 23, 2002, Ingrid was kidnapped by the Marxist rebels operating in the jungles of Columbia as she attempted to bring her message of justice and peace to the disenfranchised Columbian people living in the rural and desperately poor areas of the country.
Only the most cynical person would fail to see the sincerity of Betancourt's belief that one day Columbia can be a democracy that its people can be truly proud.
Her story isn't just a good read. Its necessary reading for anyone who doubts the world lacks people of conscience and courage.
..., Ingrid
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4.0 out of 5 stars If only politicians in the US were this courageous..., March 26 2002
By 
"sailor_doc2" (Oakland, CA United States) - See all my reviews
For anyone who cares about justice and democracy for our brothers and sisters to the south, read this book. For anyone who is cynical about our own democracy, and is disturbed by the beating our civil liberties are taking these days, read this book. For anyone who wants to understand the love of a mother for her children, read this book.
Ingrid Betancourt chose to insert herself into a political climate in Columbia that is rife with corruption, blackmail, intimidation, and sometimes, murder.
On February 23, 2002, Ingrid was kidnapped by the Marxist rebels operating in the jungles of Columbia as she attempted to bring her message of justice and peace to the disenfranchised Columbian people living in the rural and desperately poor areas of the country.
Only the most cynical person would fail to see the sincerity of Betancourt's belief that one day Columbia can be a democracy that its people can be truly proud.
Her story isn't just a good read. Its necessary reading for anyone who doubts the world lacks people of conscience and courage.
Vaya con dios, Ingrid
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5.0 out of 5 stars The real cancer of Colombia, Feb. 18 2002
By 
Rafael Carvajal (NJ United States) - See all my reviews
For anybody living outside Colombia, but also for Colombians, it seems that the guerrillas can be blamed for all the war that has been going on for the last 40 years, enhanced by the drug wars in the last 20 years. But reality is, and this is very well described from the very top of our government by Ingrid Betancourt, that the origin of all evil in Colombia comes from the government, from the traditional families who share power and rob Colombians until nothing is left.
The traditional families are powerful and very well organized, and as Colombians say, they all have "rabo de paja" (literaly hay tail, but in this case it means that nobody can stand up because everybody in the government is as corrupt as the other one). They are financed by the US to battle against "terrorists" and to poison the country through coca erradication, and they manage to have all the Colombians fighting for them against each other. The people in the guerrilla and in the army are poor people, with little education, and they fight each other, sometimes brother against brother, while the landlords and the government keep corrupting and stealing. And the press covers everything up with missinformation.
The guerrilla has to change their ways. They have to fight corruption and not civilians. The press has to unveal corruption, and the US has to stop supporting corrupt criminals; it is not the first time this happens, and corrupt governments fall sooner or later, too often against the interests of the US (Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran...).
There is hope though, and until there are people left like Ingrid Betancourt, or like Antanas Mockus (currently Bogota's mayor), people who do not steal, who do not share with corrupt criminals, but who want a better future for Colombians, there is hope in Colombia. What can the simple Colombian do to chnage from a passive spectator to an active supporter of a bettter Colombia? That is the big question for many Colombians. Meanwhile many Colombians will go to elections to decide who is going to steal next.
Ingrid, thank you for showing us in detail what we already suspected and now corroborated. Do not stop. We owe you for all your sacrifices.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiration for All, Jan. 21 2002
By 
Rosemary A. Snow (Cleveland, OH USA) - See all my reviews
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the current situation in Colombia and in its politics, or in politics in general.
Even without an interest in Colombia or in politics, readers of all ages will be inspired by Ingrid Betancourt's story. She shows herself to be a courageous, intelligent, honest, and deeply compassionate woman. Reading about her real-life struggles against the corrupt powers that be in Colombia -- working not for her own gains but for the people of her country -- is more exciting, and chilling, than reading about the similar adventures of any fictional character. If this were fiction, it would be hard to believe.
Having been in Colombia and met many of the unempowered people to whom she dedicates her life, I can understand her commitment to them and to her country. Many "ordinary" Colombians share Ingrid's hopes for peace and real democracy, and many of them exhibit the same incredible courage that she shows in her book.
We can only pray that Ingrid will be as successful in her bid for the Presidency of Colombia in May 2002 as she was in her bid for Senator! It will be a fierce struggle, but she has already overcome many tremendous and frightening obstacles in her remarkable life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Keep hope alive!!!, Jan. 17 2002
By A Customer
I find Ingrid Betancourt to be one of the most courageous and awe inspiring individuals on Earth. My parents and I departed Colombia for the US when I was only 10 years old. We left many loved ones behind and countless memories. We were fleeing the desperation and anguish encountered daily by so many honest, hardworking Colombians. However, we found it impossible to leave, for our hearts remained in Colombia. We feel its pain and cry it's tears, just as Ingrid recounts throughout her memoir. Ms. Betancourt has decided to speak out against the corruption and deceit that over decades has transformed Colombia into a quagmire of civil protest. For you see, most Colombian politicians conveniently fail to acknowledge that for decades the corruptible, ruthless, and spineless sqabbling of the ruling parties (Liberal and Conservative) have turned Colombia into the monster we see today. One need only glimpse Colombian history to realize that in the struggle to regain this great nation, the Colombian people, the innocent who pay with their lives, have no one left to cheer for. That is the sad truth. Some may call Ingrid cynical, but I prefer to call her honest and realistic. Ingrid and her progeny offer hope hope for the future. A future in which democracy is allowe to take its course. We owe her our unconditional support. If not for ourselves, then for those we left behind.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading, but the story has some big holes, Jan. 16 2002
By 
Sharon Fratepietro "sharoninsc" (Charleston, SC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
That the author was born into a privileged family makes her courageous life all the more astonishing. I visited Colombia during this past year, and I know how extremely dangerous the country is for everyone--but Colombian Senator Ingrid Betancourt has really pushed the envelope in order to fight political corruption in her country.
What a remarkable woman, and what sacrifices she has made to remain an honest, outspoken legislator! She has risked not just her personal safety, but also missed watching her children grow up; since it is too dangerous for them to remain in Colombia with her, they must live in another country with their father.
The book tells a truly riveting story about Colombian politics from the late 1980s to the present. Its account of governmental corruption at the highest levels does a great service to U.S. readers--many of us are familiar with the Cali and Medellin drug cartel mayhem, and a few of us know about the guerrilla war going on at this moment, but most of us have no idea of the extent of political corruption that has been going on in Colombia. So thank you for this story, Ingrid Betancourt, but thank you especially for your stubborn courage--you are a true role model and what I would call a hero.
Having said that, I have two quibbles with the book regarding style and content. First, it looks as though the book was produced in such a hurry there was not sufficent time for editing in English, resulting in some typos and grammatical errors. Before a second printing takes place, I hope a good editor reviews the manuscript.
I also think a big problem with the book is that the most central issues in Colombia today are barely mentioned. I am referring to the guerrilla-paramilitary-Colombian military war, which is only mentioned hurriedly in the last two chapters, though this war has been going on during all the years described in the book. It is like ignoring the elephant in the living room to wait until the book is nearly over before mentioning this war--something a good editor should have addressed. Further, unless I missed it, and I don't think I did, there was no mention about Plan Colombia (the U.S. involvement in the war) accompanied by the current, poisonous spraying of Colombia's coca and poppy fields--the "chemical warfare on the poor" as a Colombian archbishop has termed it. We have no idea how the author feels about this horror, or the U.S. support of the corrupt Colombian military.
So read this book, but do educate yourself on the missing issues.[...]
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5.0 out of 5 stars The power of ideals vs the gridlock of reality, Jan. 5 2002
By 
Amazon Customer (Bogota, Colombia) - See all my reviews
Ingrid tiene la certeza que la estructura del poder en Colombia puede ser cambiada desde arriba. Su formación como estudiante de ciencias políticas le lleva a pensar que un líder de alguna manera es solo un canal mediante el cual un sentimiento y forma de ver la realidad que está disperso, atomizado, pero mayoritario entre las personas, encuentra un eco y se manifiesta a la vida política.
Ingrid en parte por su formación pero mayoritariamente por lo que le ha tocado sufrir para poderse expresar, considera que las condiciones ya están dadas en Colombia para que se derrote un sistema de hacer política basado en una estructura semimafiosa y en la cual el elegido no posee ningún sentido de responsabilidad ni respeto por sus electores. Este libro describe esa lucha en la que ella se ha embarcado por hacerse oír y para dar a entender que los malos no pueden ni deben ganar siempre.
Comparto las ideas expresadas por mi querida amiga con una reserva, y esa es me siento inseguro que la conciencia colectiva de Colombia se encuentre a la altura de sus ideales, y que quienes hoy dicen apoyarla una vez logren aspirar la droga del poder pierdan de vista los pensamientos que una vez los inspiraron. La historia también esta llena de esas anécdotas. Pero para eso es la experiencia y creo que Ingrid esta preparada para tomar ese riesgo.
Un abrazo para mi amiga y para todos los que piensan como ella.
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1.0 out of 5 stars MISLEADING, SPOILED AND UNREALISTIC, Feb. 5 2002
By A Customer
Where has this writer been living? Where is that country she depicts so badly? This book is just another unfortunate, but very representative dimension of a divided society, where spoiled rich kids produced the official vision of reality, and then cry out having to endure from the distance, views of violent worlds themselves have been creating in their backyards for generations. Well, here you have another sad example of denial and lack of first hand experience of most high class well prepare but not grounded intellectuals eclipsing Colombian reality overseas. Unfortunate because we need critical and direct approaches. This book does not develop seriously any topic, the need for an agrarian reform, the need to stop relations between drug producers, weapon market, and the violence actors (including all) is dismissed bluntly. Betancourt lives in another reality, this book should be classified as fiction, a really bad one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A "chilling" story of patriotism and courage.............., Feb. 23 2002
By 
Janice Lynn V. (Beautiful Chesapeake Bay area, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
I am in awe of the courage of Ms. Betancourt and other Colombians who are trying to reclaim their country from years and years of corrupt, self-indulging politicians.
This book reads like a suspense novel..... however, much more intense as you remember that these are actual experiences - not contrived fiction.
Having just finished this book, I have been trying to find a way to keep abreast of Ms. Betancourt's presidential campaign.....
I am disappointed to learn that she is not one of the leading candidates.
Unfortunately, just before writing this review, I learned of her kidnapping by the FARC rebels. I pray for her to be given the strength needed to endure this horrible crime.... and that she carries the prayers of concern and comfort from her supporters in her heart.
Her sacrifices because of love for her country and fellow Colombians make for compelling reading.
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Until Death Do Us Part: My Struggle to Reclaim Colombia
Until Death Do Us Part: My Struggle to Reclaim Colombia by Ingrid Betancourt (Paperback - Aug. 11 2008)
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