Íngrid Betancourt - Biography


Betancourt was born in Bogotá, Colombia. Her mother, Yolanda Pulecio, a former beauty queen famous for sheltering abandoned children, served in Congress representing poor southern neighborhoods of Bogotá. Her father, Gabriel Betancourt, was a minister of Education in both liberal and conservative governments (President Rojas Pinilla, President Lleras Restrepo), the assistant director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), then ambassador of Colombia to UNESCO in Paris, and head of the education commission of the Alliance for Progress in Washington, D.C. under John F. Kennedy. The Betancourt family is one of Colombia's well-known families, descended from French Norman immigrants who arrived from Grainville-la-Teinturière.

After attending private school in France, a boarding school in England as well as the Liceo Francés in Bogotá, Betancourt attended the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (commonly known as Sciences Po).

After graduating, Betancourt married French citizen Fabrice Delloye in 1983, and they had two children, Mélanie (born 1985) and Lorenzo (born 1988). Through her marriage she became a French citizen. Her husband served in the French diplomatic corps, and the couple lived in multiple countries, including Ecuador, the Seychelles and the United States of America.

In the mid-1990s, Betancourt and Delloye divorced. Betancourt went back to Colombia and became advisor to the Minister of Finance, and later to the Minister of Foreign Trade. In 1994 She was elected to the House of Representatives on an anti-corruption ticket, and in 1998 she entered the Colombian Senate. Her children Melanie and Lorenzo moved to New Zealand to live with their father due to death threats stemming from her political activities.

She married Colombian advertising executive, Juan Carlos Lecompte in 1997. Their marriage ended soon after her 2008 rescue.

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