October 03, 2007
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said he believes Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate held hostage by leftist rebels, is still alive, a news report said Wednesday.
The Venezuelan president, who has been trying to negotiate the release of hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, told France's Paris-Match magazine that he had no proof Betancourt is alive, though he has been assured that she is.
''In any case, we have no information that would make me think she is dead,'' he was quoted as saying. ``All the information we have indicates she is alive.''
Betancourt, a dual French-Colombian citizen, has been held by the FARC for more than five years. She was kidnapped while campaigning in southern Colombia and was last seen publicly in a video statement in 2003.