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HBO Special: The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt

Aired July 5, 2008 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, I'm Anderson Cooper. I hope you're all enjoying the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
This weekend, a handful of families are experiencing a whole new kind of independence. As we've been reporting, 15 hostages, including three Americans were rescued on Wednesday after being held for years in a Colombian jungle. It was a daring operation that ended in hugs, tears, and reunions for people who never gave up hope.

Ingrid Betancourt was one of the hostages. She was running for president in Colombia when she was abducted. That was more than six years ago.

Tonight: We're going to tell you her story, in an HBO award-winning documentary titled, "The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt." The film profiles this courageous woman from her political campaign to her grueling days in captivity.



INGRID BETANCOURT, THEN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here's a Viagra pill. Consult your doctor. On election day, let your vote for me, be like Viagra for Colombia.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is Viagra a symbol of Colombia's impotence?

BETANCOURT: No. Dissatisfaction. All Colombians are dissatisfied. Viagra means political satisfaction.

If we follow the path of hatred, of those who say we must kill, these children's dreams will die.

This is our dream -- if there's peace, families can live without fear, have a home, get an education.




BETANCOURT: I'm here as a member of the Liberal Party. I'm here to represent many Colombians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, Representative of the House, Ingrid Betancourt...

BETANCOURT (voice-over): There two major parties in Colombia -- the liberal and conservative. And I discovered that they are the same.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please calm down.

BETANCOURT (voice-over): I don't believe in the major parties. I was part of the liberal party when I began doing politics.

This is a rigged convention. The convention of the corrupt Liberal machinery.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in session.


BETANCOURT (voice-over): There is an alliance, a secret alliance between politicians and drug traffickers.

The first step is to combat this alliance. Oxygen is a party that I created. Oxygen is something that you need to live. And for living, you need democracy; you need fair and honest elections. They are things you cannot bargain with.

I was elected senator with the highest score in the country, beating the corrupted system with their own rules in their own game. That means that there is another country, that is awakening, that is waiting for somebody to tell them, "Look, let's react. Let's do it in another way."

You see, my father brought us up with the idea that we have had so many opportunities in life. He used to say Colombian children cannot live as he lives, cannot have the education you have. So, because you are having these opportunities, you have to give back to your country. You have to really make yourself available to serve your country.

This is something that marred (ph) me deeply in my heart.

My mother, she came into politics. She was a beauty queen at the start. Because she was very beautiful, the doors opened for her. She created a foundation where she would give shelter to abandoned children. She devoted her life to this cause.

I could have lived another life. Actually, I married a French diplomat. I left my country for many years. I lived a very comfortable life, but there was this bell ringing in my heart, and every time something was happening in Colombia, I was feeling guilty not to be there trying to help.



(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, HBO) BETANCOURT (voice-over): When I came back to Colombia after many years, I went into politics in a very different way as normally it is done in Colombia.

And everybody said to me that it was not possible to get into politics, that I was not going to be elected, that I had to go into the machinery and get into the system. Getting into the system means being corrupted as they are, which, of course, that's what I did not want to do. The result was that I was elected to the House of Representatives with a very high score.


BETANCOURT: If I were president, I would not be afraid to remove the corrupt people.


BETANCOURT (voice-over): I would believe you have to fight corruption. And in that fight, you gain many enemies.

I had this confrontation with the President Ernesto Samper. Ernesto Samper, he was elected with the money of drug trafficking and we had all kind of proofs of this, recent documents that proved that he had received drug (ph) money.

BETANCOURT: We made a trial in the Congress against him and had proof that he was guilty. Then he bought most of the Congress. I witnessed this, how my colleagues were paid in order to absolve the president.

It was the first day of Congress after the trial. I went out of the building. It was very late at night. I went to my car, it was the first time I had a bodyguards. We went into a little street, the streets are very narrow and then we had an ambush.

We had a car blocking us from the front, another car blocking us from behind. My driver was very smart and he managed to avoid them. And then we heard gunshots. We were very lucky because nothing happened.

Looking backwards, I think I reacted in a way that was very irresponsible, because, at that time, my children were living with me. Their father was leaving Colombia and he was going to live in another country, in New Zealand, very far. And for me, I wanted to stay with my children and I wanted to be with them.

And I realized that if I was going to tell about this ambush, probably, the result was going to be that I wouldn't have the children with me. So, I didn't tell them anything.

Three months later, I had another threat. The man came to my office and he began to say that he was concerned about my safety and that I had to be careful. And this went on and on and then I said to the guy, "Look, can you tell me why you want to talk to me?"

And the guy said, "I'm here to warn you. We have already paid (INAUDIBLE), the killers to kill you and your family. My advice is that you leave Colombia immediately."

The next day, I took a plane, to New Zealand. My daughter was 10 and my boy was seven. (INAUDIBLE) can make you dream (ph). It has been the most difficult thing of my life.

There's always a price to pay for any woman in the world who wants to live her life completely. There are men that accept this. My second husband is a Colombian man that accepts. He is showing a very great deal of solidarity. And he's always with me.


BETANCOURT: For Mama Yolanda's 65th birthday, to the most generous woman I know, to the woman I most admire.

YOLANDA PULECIO, BETANCOURT'S MOTHER: You're going to make me cry.

BETANCOURT: And above all, to the one who taught us to appreciate happiness, To guard moments of happiness like a treasure, to Mama Yolanda.

Juan Carlos, one, two, three

JUAN CARLOS LECOMPTE, BETANCOURT'S HUSBAND: The goal of 2002 is to make Ingrid president of Colombia. I don't have any other ones. No, nothing like that...

BETANCOURT: Yes, you've got to reduce that gut...

LECOMPTE: No, forget it.

BETANCOURT: Lorenzo, your three goals for the year. One...


BETANCOURT: No. You, you, you.

DELLOYE: First goal, if you're president - hold on. If you're president - enjoy myself to death.

BETANCOURT: No. One -- get good grades.

DELLOYE: OK, get good grades.

BETANCOURT: Two -- lose weight. Three?

DELLOYE: Go to parties.


Do you know what my one, two, and three are?

PULECIO: Your one -- become president. Your two -- leave your kids in peace. Your three -- I don't know.

BETANCOURT: What? LECOMPTE: Why leave your kids in peace?

BETANCOURT: Why leave your kids in peace? Explain this.

DELLOYE: It's because you give me a hard time.




RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Rick Sanchez here at the world headquarters of CNN in Atlanta. You have been watching and will continue to watch from 8:00 to 10:00 tonight, this documentary that we're showing through HBO about Ingrid Betancourt.

We've got some video now that I want to share with you. This is the video that came in just today. All right. This is the plane of Betancourt when she's just -- at that moment, she's just realized that this is actually a rescue.

You have to understand that prior to this, she thought that she was just being moved by members of the rebel force. There's the video earlier in the day. At this point, she and the three Americans, who had been taken hostage for so long did not know.

In fact, there is one of them there. He is still handcuffed and he is protesting about the handcuffing. He doesn't know that he's actually being rescued. There now is one of the common grounds (ph) for the FARC, the rebel group there in Colombia and one of the other member who was taken hostage of the Colombian Army as well, where he is complaining about his treatment. It's not so when they're later on in the plane and the plane has taken off.

And this video coming in to us tonight with the camera reveals their reaction as they start to finally learn that this thing is for real. They're actually rescued, the screaming begins, the jubilation and reaction. Some of the FARC members are captured right there on the plane though.

We're going to be all over this. We're going to be breaking it down for you tonight and showing it to you frame by frame. My colleague, Karl Penhaul, is Colombian. He's going to join us. He's been following the story for the better part of the last seven or eight years.

So, we'll have Karl on the air as well.

Meanwhile, here's another story we're following for you tonight, a heated battle in Santa Barbara County, California. This is where this wildfire has been burning for more than 8,300 acres. Firefighters say that they've made some progress against the flames which are now about 24 percent contained. It's just one of the hundreds of blazes burning right now in California and officials are trying to find out if someone intentionally set it. Well, his only rifle dropped out of the runoff. But in Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe apparently wasn't taking any chances. There is new video out of the country, it actually shows how people are intimidated into voting for the incumbent -- "sign here or else," so to speak. There've been repeated allegations that Mugabe rigged the runoff of this one. This video that we're going to show you tonight really seals the deal.

I'm Rick Sanchez. Let's take you back now to "The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt," more on that tonight at 10:00.



BETANCOURT: On election day, let your vote for me like Viagra for Colombia.

Let's make peace grow, to protect the Colombian people, to reach accords for reforms toward peace, and to mobilize the paramilitaries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree with more weapons to fight the guerillas?

BETANCOURT: No, no. I believe that negotiations are the solution.



BETANCOURT (voice-over): The FARC, it's a guerilla leftist revolutionary army. They have been fighting in the country since the late 50s. At the beginning, there was a civil war going on in Colombia between the liberals and the conservatives. And those guys decided to arm peasants in order to fight for their ideas.

And then afterwards, when the aristocracy in Colombia decided to make peace, they betrayed those peasants that they had armed and they went after them to kill them. And this is how the FARC, this revolutionary army was born.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you going to meet with the FARC?

BETANCOURT: I'm definitely going. I'm going February 14th, as I've said from the beginning, not only to defend negotiations as the solution for Colombia, but to tell the FARC that if Colombians want negotiations it's because we want to sit down and find rational solutions to the Colombian conflict. Not because we're afraid, or down on our knees. We want to show them that we won't be pressured to back down.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FEBRUARY 14, 2002/ CANDIDATES MEET WITH THE FARC) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll continue with the candidate from the Oxygen Green Part, Ingrid Betancourt.

BETANCOURT: Sitting here are the FARC and the government. When you decided to become a guerilla, when each one of you decided, "I'm going to the mountains to fight," what was your intention? Was your intention -- to take away water and electricity from the poor people you wanted to defend? I don't think so. I believe that you joined to say, "We're going to fight for a better society -- for social justice."

What is the consensus for peace? I know it's hard to reach a consensus for peace. It's much easier to reach a consensus for war. That's clear to me. But a consensus for peace will strengthen the FARC. A consensus fro war will destroy Colombia.

What do I propose? I propose that we make unilateral gestures, unilateral gestures that will allow Colombian to embrace the peace process. There is a gesture for the FARC. No more kidnappings, no more kidnappings. That the FARC promises to stop kidnapping, and to free the kidnapped people.

This is a decision that you, here, can make. No more kidnappings.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Confirmation this morning of a kidnapping in Colombia. Rebels abducted a presidential candidate as she was driving toward a rebel-controlled town. The campaign manager for former Senator Ingrid Betancourt says she was taken yesterday.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): The keys are in the car.


Thank you.

YOLANDA BETANCOURT (in Spanish): I can't ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (in Spanish): It's very difficult.

JUAN CARLOS: First news was on Saturday at 9:00 p.m. when a police general said Ingrid (ph) was missing.

The peace process between the rebels and the government broke February 21. So Ingrid flew through Valencia with 11 people from the campaign.

And as soon as Ingrid arrived, one of the colonels who was in charge of Florencia (ph) Airport said OK, we are going to put you in a helicopter because it's dangerous to go by car. So Ingrid waited hours and hours and at the end the military said the order is not to let you go by helicopter.

And they give Ingrid a pickup truck. After one hour of driving, we cannot go through the road because it was a bus crossing in the road. The guerrillas stopped the car and they took Ingrid and Clara and they disappeared with them.

That day the president of Colombia, Andres Pastrana called us to say I'm sorry, we are going to do the best and that's it.

(in Spanish): Oh man, this is a mess.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (in Spanish): You must feel sad, very sad my dear.

Y. BETANCOURT (in Spanish): Yes, every time I wake up I think, what can I do? It's a feeling up helplessness, not knowing what I can do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (in Spanish): Has she called or anything?

Y. BETANCOURT (in Spanish): No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (in Spanish): What do the people who took her want?

Y. BETANCOURT (in Spanish): They're asking - they want in exchange for Ingrid their prisoners released but the government can't because those prisoners have killed many people.

I truly hope that the guerrillas will talk to Ingrid, that they listen to her. The guerrillas will understand why Ingrid is in politics. She wants a change for this country, she wants a better Colombia. Colombia cannot continue the way it is. That's what she wants. She would die for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): (Untranslated)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): Lord, we want you to free Ingrid Betancourt so that she can be with us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): Hear our prayer, Lord, and give us peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): Lord, we pay for peace. Lord, we pray for peace in Colombia and for all the people who are deprived of their freedom, that they return home soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): Hear our prayer, Lord, and give us peace. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): To Mama Yolanda of the orphanage, mama, we want you blessed by the security that God will look for you if you're lost. I hope that you can find peace by trusting in him.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Rick Sanchez. Let me try to catch you up on what's going on right now. You're watching this HBO documentary on the kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt.

Well, interestingly enough we have been receiving video, some video that we got in overnight, seen for the first time today of the actual rescue. It starts with different shots. This is one of the shots from onboard the plane. You see, Betancourt didn't even know that she was being rescued when it happened, until she got on the plane and all of the sudden the people that she thought were her captors turned to her and said, "We're actually here to rescue you."

These are shots form before she gets on the plane. We're going to be breaking all this down for you tonight at 10:00, by the way. These are shots before she gets on the plane. This is also some American hostages, soldiers who were captured there many years ago. That gentleman with the mustache there is actually a Colombian officer. There is back to Ingrid Betancourt before getting on the helicopter. Again, this is video we've got and we're going to be sharing it with you, breaking it down. Karl Penhaul is in Colombia, he's been there, based there, he'll break down the video, take it frame by frame for us and show us exactly what's on there and give us the whole significance of this as it relates to the documentary that you're watching now.

Meanwhile there's also a heated battle in Santa Barbara, California where a wildfire has burned more than 8,300 acres.

Firefighters say that they've made progress against the flames which are now about 24 percent contained. This is just one of hundreds of blazes burning right now in California.

Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are going to appear together at fundraisers next week. The Clinton faithful may not be following her lead gets mixed support from Obama among Clinton backers. A growing number are saying they won't vote at all this coming November. Not for Barack Obama, not for John McCain, not for anybody.

And look at all these fireworks not going up but out into a crowd of people in northeastern Iowa. Uh-oh. This is a July 4th fireworks show misfired in Charles City. Sends a huge fireball down a city street. Nearly 40 people hurt. Officials say they are still investigating.

And there's this story I want to show you. This guy's wife says he's nuts. You may say that and more looking at this video. This is a guy on a chair with a ton of balloons on top of him. The balloons are filled with helium and that's how he flies around. See, he pops them when he wants to change his altitude. Interestingly enough, his name is Kent Couch. That's right, Couch. As in a couch on balloons flying over Central Oregon all the way to Boise, Idaho. His two previous attempts were not so successful. Couch's landing gear is pretty unconventional. He's got a big Ryder bb gun and a blowgun and that's what he uses. He shoots at the balloons and as he shoots each balloon then he starts to come down little by little.

I'm Rick Sanchez, let's take you back now to "The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt", a special report on new video on the rescue of Ingrid Betancourt tonight at 10:00.


CROWD (in Spanish): (Untranslated)

ASTRID, INGRID'S SISTER: Well, we are trying to do what we think she would expect us to do for her. Which is sometimes difficult. Honestly, if Fabrice wasn't there it would have been much harder for my mother and for me.

We know that Fabrice is carrying what he has to carry on him to make it lighter for the children. We know that he is with them all the time. That he is doing a beautiful job in order that Milita (ph) and Lorenzo (ph) keep their stability in order that they have hope.

My father is of course very sad. And he is worried because he is very weak because of his illness. But of course he has his mind functioning 100 percent and more than 100 percent.

My father asked President Pastrana not to organize any specific military operation of rescue. Because we believed that one operation of that kind would put in high risk my sister's life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): (Untranslated)

ASTRID: We asked the government what was their intention regarding the communique of the FARC asking for this law of exchange and the Ministry of Interior said we are not going to do anything because we don't have any link with the guerrilla and so we're going to let the next government run a dialogue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): You have to have patience because this is about politics and you can't expect anything from the government because I don't think they'll do anything.

JUAN CARLOS: Well, it's very difficult because without Ingrid everything is different. I quit my job in advertising in the policy (ph) agency and I am full time in the campaign right now.

I am moving the campaign forward. We are going to be until the end. We are going to make sure that Ingrid will be in the ballot for the presidential election.

Because in Colombia we have 3,000 kidnappings a year, there is a law that you can run for Congress or even for president even though you are not in physical presence.

ASTRID: My sister, she must be worried of what is going on. I mean, who is handling everything.

YOLANDA: Are we going to choose a vice president? Are we not going to choose a vice president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ingrid's mother has shelters for poor kids. Right now she has like 200 kids in five different houses. She hasn't been there because she's working in the campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (in Spanish): For Ingrid Betancourt's situation I think Colombia is suffering. It's the worst thing that they could do to a person, to take away their freedom. And I think it shows that Colombia is tired of fighting. Of all of the horrible things the guerrillas have done, and now is a good time for movement to demonstrate that all we want is a free country, a happy country, a beautiful country. This is all we want. This is what we are fighting for.

MAURICE BAYONA, SPORTS EDITOR: I don't know. I think it's a common situation in Colombia. She was very brilliant, you know what I mean?

She took her own risks and she's paying for that right now.

JUAN CARLOS: I had a very difficult night last night because I couldn't sleep at all. But I am busy like all day moving the campaign, trying to do things and that keeps me busy so during the day for me is OK.

During the night I feel very lonely and very --

(in Spanish): It's a deeply loneliness and a terrible anguish.


JORGE ENRIQUE BOTERO, JOURNALIST WHO HAS INTERVIEWED THE FARC (in Spanish): This is the area controlled by the FARC's southern command

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): They say the FARC elected President Pastrana. Who will you elect on May 26.

ALFONSO CANO, FARC COMMANDER (in Spanish): Well, I haven't expressed a preference for any of the candidates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): Did you ask him if it was terrorism to kidnap a presidential candidate and in his response does he says ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): No, he says it's not terrorism.

BOTERO (in Spanish): Isn't the deliberating kidnapping of government officials a terrorist act?

CANO (in Spanish): The method we have developed to take people captive for political exchange which we have used for several years is a legitimate act in this confrontation.

BOTERO (in Spanish): What he says is we need to have a discussion and hopefully the sooner the better

JUAN CARLOS (in Spanish): I don't really know anything about that. I'm not an expert in politics or kidnappings or anything. I got into this by accident. I'm only learning about this now. Before I met Ingrid, I had never even voted. And when I met her I didn't even know she was in Congress. It's only now that I'm learning about all of this.

BOTERO (in Spanish): Juan Carlos, what do you think Ingrid is doing while in captivity?

JUAN CARLOS (in Spanish): I think she is writing. She must be keeping a diary. And she must be talking with everyone. A young guerrilla who has her, or a captain, or a commander or whomever, I'm sure of that.

BOTERO (in Spanish): Surely she's seen the media about her kidnapping, right?

JUAN CARLOS (in Spanish): Could be, I don't know.

BOTERO (in Spanish): Yes, their daily lives.

JUAN CARLOS (in Spanish): Do they watch television and everything.

BOTERO (in Spanish): I'm absolutely sure she has television.

JUAN CARLOS (in Spanish): Do you think she watches television everyday?

BOTERO (in Spanish): Every day. It's like a ritual done almost religiously.

JUAN CARLOS (in Spanish): Has she seen us on television? Has she seen her mother ...

BOTERO (in Spanish): And she's see you, everybody, everything that has happened. She's seen everything.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): We're entering the Plaza de Bolivar right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): Here's Ingrid's I.D. and here's ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): We're at a police checkpoint.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): And here's mine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): You can't enter with that.

JUAN CARLOS (in Spanish): Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): Because it's propaganda.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): Propaganda for what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): This is a person who is a symbol of democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): There is no symbol or anything on her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): The Ministry of Interior said it was OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in Spanish): Thank you, major.

JUAN CARLOS: This is Election Day and Ingrid is one of the democratic symbols in Colombia so I am going to put Ingrid here.

Election Day is like a party for her. She always goes in Election Day to different points in the city and that's what I'm going to try to do today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (in Spanish): What have you learned of her?

JUAN CARLOS (in Spanish): Unfortunately, nothing.

DARCY QUINN, REPORTER, CARACOL TELEVISION: Why are you carrying this photo of her when we know she's kidnapped?

JUAN CARLOS, HUSBAND OF INGRID BETANCOURT: Well, I believe that she is one of the symbols of democracy in Colombia.

QUINN: I was just talking to her husband, Juan Carlos. It's just that you learned to live with that here. It's like, you know, every day someone else has been kidnapped. And we just like live with that. It doesn't -- it mean, it's so sad, but it's not such a big deal anymore for anybody here to be kidnapped. It's part of our lives.

CARLOS: Since there so many kidnappings in Colombia, the only way you can communicate with the kidnapped people is to leave a message for them on a special radio station, like Pais Libre or Caracol Radio.

I want to tell Ingrid that we are here with her, that we will continue until the end, that she will be on the ballot. The people will vote for you, Ingrid on May 267th. We are all with you, and we are a strong presence like you always are on all the election days.


SISTER OF INGRID BETANCOURT: My father died on the 23rd. My father was a very strong man with a very optimistic view of life. When Ingrid was first kidnapped, he told us nothing happens in life without the hand of God.

He was always thinking that if this could not happen, there was a reason for this to happen.

Ingrid, my sister -- my only sister is not here to share this pain together. My dear father, I will carry your spirit with me my whole life.

CHILD: Mommy, don't cry. Mommy, don't cry. Mommy, don't cry.

SISTER: I feel extremely proud to be your daughter. Thank you for all of your love and your teachings.

GABRIEL, FATHER OF INGRID BETANCOURT: A message to Ingrid. I will continue loving you always. I miss you infinitely. I ask God and the Virgin to keep you safe from harm. I know that where you are, you are always fulfilling your promise to achieve peace with peace, with social justice, in an honest country. Have faith that we will see you at home soon.

FABRICE, EX-HUSBAND OF INGRID BETANCOURT: Pleased to meet you. I am Fabrice. I am the father of Ingrid Betancourt's kids. Yes. Sonia, I called because we are leaving today. May we leave messages for Ingrid through Pais Libre radio? May we record short messages? And will they be transmitted tomorrow? OK, transmitted next week.

Thank you above all, for having this program. Thank you. Yes. I am ready. For Ingrid Betancourt, please. Ingrid, Fabrice to tell you that yesterday we said goodbye to your father. It was a difficult, but very beautiful moment. The ceremony was divine, just as your father would have wanted it. I want you to know that I am with the kids. We have faith and we know that you will be free. As the kids say, you will exit this situation through a big door, my love. I love you very much. I'm with you, and the whole world is with you. The whole world, my love, it really is the whole world that is with you.

Here's Melanie to give you a message.

MELANIE, DAUGHTER OF INGRID BETANCOURT: Mommy, listen, I adore you with all my heart, all my heart I love you so much. Mommy, yesterday, grandpa's funeral was very beautiful, and know that you were with us the whole time. You were in our hearts, Mommy. Don't worry. I adore you, Mommy. Be strong. Be strong, like always. I adore you, Mommy. Kisses Mommy. Mommy, I adore you.

LANCE, SON OF INGRID BETANCOURT: Mommy, listen, I adore you. Be strong Mommy, seriously. Yesterday, when I said goodbye to Grandpa, I knew that he was content, knowing that you were fine. And it was the ceremony that he would have wanted. I adore you Mommy, honestly. Be strong, like always, like you always taught us.

FABRICE: Yes, we will call regularly to leave messages, OK? Thank you.


RICK SANCHEZ: I'm Rick Sanchez. As you are watching this documentary by HBO on the kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt, we should tell you that we've got a couple of tapes we will be sharing with you tonight at 10:00. One is on the rescue and there's another on the reunion.

We will start by showing you a little bit of this rescue if we can. This is video inside the plane and this is after Betancourt realizes that she has in fact been rescued. Look at the look on her face. Look at her reaction. She didn't know it when she boarded the plane. She thought she was being moved by people who were part of the FARC or lived to the FARC.

This is before they got on the plane. Remember, at this point, they don't know what's going on. That guy is an American hostage, American soldier held who has hostage for many years. And you'll see another gentlemen come up there. See him talking, the guy with the mustache. He is a Colombian soldier taken hostage many years. They were complaining. They don't know they are about to be rescued and they will be told once the helicopter gets up in the air.

It's an amazing story as it plays out. We've got video as well of Betancourt being reunited with her family. Tonight we will be sharing that with you at 10:00 as well.

We will be talking to my colleague, Ken Penhall, who knows the story pretty much as well as anybody. He is based in Colombia and has been following this for many years now. And we'll have the latest on that.

As we put all that together, we have this too. There's reports that there has been salmonella in salsa in the United States and often it's been reported that it had to do with tomatoes. The FDA is now taking a look at that and saying maybe not tomatoes, maybe something else in the salsa, maybe the onions or the cilantro or maybe the peppers they use to heat it up. All the money that the tomato industry lost may be for naught. More than 900 cases have been reported and the most recent two weeks ago.

Again, two of the big stories that we're falling for you, Ingrid Betancourt, of course. That video we will share with you at the top of the hour. We'll see you.

First, let's take you back to "The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom for the kidnapped people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We demand freedom for Ingrid Betancourt.

CARLOS: Everybody is talking about Ingrid's kidnapping and nobody is talking about Clara Rojas' kidnapping. So we put Clara Rojas vice president to show the people in Colombia and to the media that there is another kidnapping than Ingrid. I think it was a good thing to do for her and for her family.

YOLANDA, MOTHER OF INGRID BETANCOURT: And the campaign's message is "Vote for her so that -- so that they free her. Because if she has a lot of votes -- It's a way to pressure the guerrillas to free her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People think since she is kidnapped, what will I get by voting for her?

YOLANDA: When I was getting gas for my car, the attendant said, "I want to vote for Ingrid," but I won't because it's like voting for the guerrillas. They would be holding the president of Colombia and the guerrillas would use that power."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We or corruption? The election is war or corruption.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I think for us, so that Ingrid is freed, Serpa would be better than Uribe.


REPORTER: From now until Sunday, what do you plan to do?


REPORTER: That's obvious, but -- I mean, because she's not going to be here for the elections. It's a serious problem.

YOLANDA: Excuse me, but our problem will not be resolved on Sunday.

UNIDENTIEID FEMALE: We will continue the campaign to free Ingrid. For us, the campaign won't end. There won't be parties, nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our problem will only be solved when they return Ingrid.

REPORTER: Do you still hope to receive news about Ingrid from the FARC?

CROWD: Yes, of course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I have hope. I still hope. Every day I think, today is the day that we will get a message from the FARC.

SISTER: Welcome to the Oxygen Green Party. Thank you for your high school's solidarity with our campaign and with the 4,500 people kidnapped in our country today. What we're going to do is very simple. We're going to fold these pamphlets. We'll fold them like this.

This is publicity that the National Electoral Counsel gives us. We are a campaign with very little money. So this is what we will hand out on Election Day, May 26th. We know that by generating awareness with the public and with voters, we can help Ingrid gain her freedom soon.

Thank you again for helping us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We live with all our family, all the people we know. It was very hard, very sad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kidnapping, is a great problem that confronts our country. I think the kidnapping of Ingrid is an example to say that our country is kidnapped country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she's a very smart woman, but I have read many things about her. She feels she's the savior of Colombia. That isn't true. She says she's the only honest person in this country. That isn't true. I think every politician here is a corrupt person. I don't believe in her honesty. I think if she won -- well, she's kidnapped so what she could do?

CARLOS: You are all very kind. I am Juan Carlos, Ingrid's husband. And I think you for all of your help, help which is much needed in this difficult moment so close to Election Day. And because Ingrid isn't here, I thank you on behalf of her. Thank you very much.

You can vote for Ingrid this Sunday, May 26th. She is on the ballot legally. Number 10. And for those of you who want to abstain, but believe in democracy, choose Ingrid because your vote is useful. To those who are undecided, consider Ingrid. Remember what she was fighting for. Remember what she said in Congress, how she has served her country. Remember this, and vote with your heart.

ALVARO URIBE, INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE: With strength and decency, we will move forward to unite the nation.

HARATIO SERPA, LIBERAL PARTY CANDIDATE: That's why I oppose war. Because war is a complete disgrace.

CROWD: No more kidnappings. Free Ingrid.

No more kidnappings. Free Clara.

CARLOS: In spite of them, Ingrid is here.


CARLOS: Wow, what a rain, huh?

If this rain is coming tomorrow, that's going to be a mess, because this time they're counting votes exactly so. Tonight is going to be for me, very difficult to sleep. I have a friend who, like twice a month in the past three months, give me a pill and I'm going to take that one tonight. Without that pill, I'm not going to sleep for sure, because tomorrow's going to be a very hard day for us.

We did our best and we work a lot. And I don't know tomorrow what's going to happen.

With less than 40,000 votes, we lose the party. Ingrid is going to be very mad when she comes back and she finds out that there is no party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we'll see how it goes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you miss most about Ingrid?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her voice, her presence when I sleep, everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will we have to walk a lot? Because I'll die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's too much. And now I have no job. I have to work on that tomorrow. I'll have to find a job and figure out how I'm going to live. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Relax man, don't worry. That policeman will stay with the car. He's there so that the police won't (EXPLETIVE DELETED) with me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can enter that way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll see if they let me.

Problems with the police here. So frustrating. Come with me, Yolanda.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Words from Mr. Antanas Mockus, mayor of Bogota, to begin the elections for president and vice president of the Republic of Colombia for the term of 2002 to 2006.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She should be here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, how are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm calling the general because someone is towing my car and I can't do interviews, I can't do anything because I have to be watching my car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to leave your car in a special place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I don't have a driver. I had to be here at 8:00 a.m. I'm supposed to be giving statements. I can't be guarding my car. I asked the general, he said it would be fine but it's been nothing but problems.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, we have the problem with the car, we can solve this by finding someone to watch your car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I have someone watching it but the person came here to tell me, this is the person. Look here's the person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go to his car and guard it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was there but he came ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said they're going to take the car. Tell them not to take it. You need to guard it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I ask the FARC, I implore them, this is long enough. Please let her go so she can continue to fight to change this country, something all Colombians need.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your vote will help us.

Thank you for voting with your heart.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SANCHEZ: I'm Rick Sanchez here at the CNN Newsroom. Let me tell you what we've got coming up in just a bit.

First of all, as you watch this amazing story, "The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt," we're going to have video released within the last 18 hours or so, that shows what the rescue was actually like as it happened. Those are people there, you're looking at who actually believed they were just being transferred. It's not until later they find out they're being rescued. There's Ingrid Betancourt there. You also see her later on reacting inside the helicopter. Again, we're going to break this down for you and bring you the latest and even have video tonight of reunion with her family we're going to be sharing with you. The new stuff.

Also this, strategic timing of a presidential appearance. Here's the question. When will President Bush make an appearance at the Republican National Convention? And if he does, will he ever be side by side with John McCain? Speaking of John McCain, he is trying to turn his campaign around. He's got a new team, he's got a new strategy, to try to fend off Barack Obama. We're going to tell you what that is. We'll break it down for you.

And also tonight, LOFTV as in league of first time voters, nurses tell me, why, follow the money, Rick, they say. There's a problem with health care. Right back to "The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll be there soon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where the hell did I put Ingrid's I.D.? Here it is. Whew.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Ingrid's I.D. card.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can she make a symbolic vote?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She can't, I know. But we want to vote symbolically. There's no other situation like this where a presidential candidate is kidnapped so how can anyone know what to do? This is the first time, this is something unusual and this difficulty has happened. How can anyone know what to do?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's put the I.D. in part way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a very difficult campaign on very unequal ground. But we have made it to Election Day and we will continue to work very hard today. And we hope to have a good surprise today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has been a very calm democratic Election Day. We return to one of the polling places with partial results.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here in the National Registry where they count the votes. We are watching firsthand what is happening here.. I think that in one hour we will know exactly who won.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the District of Atlantico, Horacio Serpa's winning. Serpa's definitely winning there. There's nothing we could do in Atlantico.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The distance is growing between Alvaro Uribe, who has 54 percent of the votes in Bogota and Horacio Serpa, who has 26 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alvaro Uribe, 5,124,642 votes, 53.51 percent. Horacio Serpa, 2,962,304 votes, 31.14 percent. Ingrid Betancourt, 47,684 votes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need 70,000 votes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need 50,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we have 48,000 votes?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we have 48,000 votes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alvaro Uribe is very close to 50 percent. Sometimes below, sometimes above.

ADAIR, LOGISTICS CHIEF: We're here, waiting to see how well we'll do. Yes, we need 50,000 votes. No, we have 49,076 votes. We'll see. I hope. It's the only thing we need at the moment.

Marelby, tell me how many votes - 50,847? And what percentage. We're saved.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ah, I have goose bumps.

ADAIR: We're saved.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we passed 50,000. I told you we would.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nubia, this is wonderful. Now we won't disappear. Ah, don't cry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The celebration begins. The person who is the new president and who had an absolute majority is Alvaro Uribe.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the name of Ingrid Betancourt's campaign and the Oxygen Green Party we want to thank everyone who voted for Ingrid and for those who voted for another candidate but expressed their admiration for Ingrid, their solidarity with and protest of Ingrid and Clara's situation.

To those who voted for Ingrid, we appreciate the special significance of your gesture. It's not only a vote of solidarity but it's a personal decision to support a candidate in such deplorable circumstances who due to her absence, could not defend her political plan.

Tonight's results, without her being present, we consider a miracle.

To Alvaro Uribe, we express our sincerest congratulations and we hope that he will respond to the hopes of the Colombian people, who as a majority have expressed their confidence in him in this moment of great challenge that confronts Colombia. Our campaign will continue, dedicated to the fight for freedom for Ingrid, for Clara and for all kidnapped people. Colombian people can be assured that when she is freed, Ingrid will continue to work toward a new Colombia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to move the liberation of Ingrid campaign until she is free.

INGRID BETANCOURT, FORMER HOSTAGE: Where is the policy of the state against kidnapping? How can it be explained that for the last five years we have 50 officials, including police and military, rotting in the jungle like us without the government creating a way to find a solution.

I'm not just saying this because I am kidnapped. This is what I have thought all along. I am not asking for an exchange for me nor for the other kidnapped people. I am not asking for that because that is the government's decision.

There cannot be blackmail and there cannot be pressure on the government's decisions.

It pains me that in Colombia hearts have closed, empathy is missing. It has been made clear to us that for a kidnapping, the only solution is to let time pass, as if human life does not matter.

What I do not accept as a Colombian is the abandonment by the Colombian state.

Mom, Melanie, Lorenzo, Juan Carlos, Astrid, Fabrice, I'm fine. I'm alive.

My Melanie, you have been luminous, extraordinary, you have filled my life. What you are doing, how you have grown, with intelligence and strength, is one of my life's greatest rewards. I feel very lucky. My Lorenzo, you are filled with strength. You are the one who knows I will retire.

Mom, sometimes I hear you on the radio. What you have been doing is beautiful.

Juan Carlos, I love you. And love like water will always find its way. We will be together soon.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: That was then, six years ago. This week, Ingrid Betancourt, six years older, is back with her family, reunited with her kids. She says they look so different and so much the same. Her story is truly remarkable. As is the story for all the hostages. For everything they endured, they never gave up hope they should be free. And as we celebrate their release we should also bear in mind that there are more than 700 people still being held captive somewhere in the jungles of Colombia.

I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for watching this HBO documentary. Good night.


I. BETANCOURT: Whatever sacrifice has to be made in order to fight for what I believe is the best thing that I can inherit to my children. I think they have to live with the example of a mother that has given a fight so that they can return to their country and to free Colombia, free of violence, free of drugs, free of corruption. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing.