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Betancourt had been trapped in that jungle—so dense that the ground is completely invisible from the air—for more than six years.
On July 2 she had been liberated in a daring rescue staged by the Colombian Army without a shot being fired, and her reunion with her family was carried live on TV. Now she was speaking on Colombian Independence Day from a luxe Paris hotel room, dressed in white jeans, a white sweater, and black stacked-heeled mules, with a red chrysanthemum attached to the end of her long, dark braid.
Officials said the three had been flown to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where they arrived late Wednesday.
During those 1,967 days, Gonsalves saw friends executed.
He was chained by the neck, locked in a cage and lived in fear he would end up buried in a forlorn hole in the jungle.
As Colombia tries to salvage a peace pact with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Gonsalves, 44, shares many of the doubts that this nation also seems to harbor about the deal and its leniency toward a guerrilla organization that the United States considers a terrorist group.
“These are people who tortured me and others, and they have committed terrible crimes,” Gonsalves, a Connecticut native who lives in Port Charlotte, Florida, said of his one-time captors.
The 297-page peace pact drew international praise and won President Juan Manuel Santos the Nobel Peace Prize last week because it seemed to offer a way out of a conflict that has claimed more than 220,000 lives.