From the Times Online:
"To the rest of the world, Betancourt, 46, a Colombian politician, may have been just one of dozens of VIP hostages held in the jungle by Farc, Latin America’s oldest surviving guerrilla army. But this “Joan of Arc of the Andes”, as she has been dubbed by the Colombian press, was French-educated and a dual national by a first marriage.
For six years her epic ordeal of solitude and survival has caught the popular imagination in France, her image as resonant as Madeleine McCann’s in this country. Betancourt’s portrait has been suspended from hundreds of town halls, including in Paris, her spirit of resistance and force of character touching a nation as details of her plight filtered out sporadically in videos, letters and accounts from fellow captives.
Throughout this time she attracted the full might of the French Establishment — first from Dominique de Villepin, the former Prime Minister, and later from Sarkozy, who even pledged to win her freedom in his election-night victory speech last year. "
Betancourt had been taken hostage in 2002 - she was one of 2000.
"Betancourt had made four attempts to escape, was chained by the neck day and night and often tortured. She remained defiant, acting as leader of her hostage group, fighting for small privileges.
Betancourt said that she drew great strength during her years in the jungle from hearing the voice of her mother, a former beauty queen, in broadcasts to her on the radio."