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UNTIL DEATH DO US PART: My Struggle to Reclaim Colombia Hardcover – December 24, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
In a memoir that sometimes conveys the excitement of a Clancy thriller, Betancourt recounts her remarkable life, from the Paris of her childhood (her father was Colombia's minister of education and ambassador to UNESCO) to present-day Colombia, where she has served as a senator in Bogot and where she plans to launch her 2002 presidential campaign. That is, if she isn't assassinated first. Betancourt announces early on that she is no ordinary politician and that her reminiscences will comprise no ordinary political memoir. But what constitutes exceptional in Colombia, a country awash in political corruption and controlled by a government that is under the thumb of organized crime and vulnerable to the financial lure of illegal drug trafficking? Well, for starters, Betancourt spent her first campaign, for a seat in the House of Representatives, standing along the city's busiest streets, handing out condoms ("[O]ur poster: my photo alongside a picture of a condom, with this slogan: `The best to protect us against corruption.' " She scandalized her parents, her friends, her country, but won her seat in the House. So began Betancourt's campaign against electoral fraud and narcopoliticians, which, despite the death threats and the pressure exerted on her family, continues to this day and which won't end, as her title implies, until she wins or is killed for her efforts. Betancourt's memoir is intelligently written, if occasionally sentimental, and she passionately and clearly describes the consequences of corruption and the dangers of combating it. (Jan.)Forecast: This was a bestseller in France and Colombia. It may not reach that status here, but Betancourt's attractive face on the cover will lead people to pick it up, and her fast-paced story will keep them reading.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
A manifesto from the woman running for Colombia's presidency.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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She will remain my hero, despite what her American inmate enemies say about her. Based on their report, I had written a very unflattering review of her in their book. It is why I sought to hear her side of the story. I am glad I did. Yes, she is an imperious princess, but her heart is in the right place, even when her instincts are faulty. She paid the price of her convictions and what more can one ask of a hero. She has been rehabilitated in my mind. Five stars
What a remarkable woman, and what sacrifices she has made to remain an honest, outspoken legislator! She has risked not just her personal safety, but also missed watching her children grow up; since it is too dangerous for them to remain in Colombia with her, they must live in another country with their father.
The book tells a truly riveting story about Colombian politics from the late 1980s to the present. Its account of governmental corruption at the highest levels does a great service to U.S. readers--many of us are familiar with the Cali and Medellin drug cartel mayhem, and a few of us know about the guerrilla war going on at this moment, but most of us have no idea of the extent of political corruption that has been going on in Colombia. So thank you for this story, Ingrid Betancourt, but thank you especially for your stubborn courage--you are a true role model and what I would call a hero.
Having said that, I have two quibbles with the book regarding style and content. First, it looks as though the book was produced in such a hurry there was not sufficent time for editing in English, resulting in some typos and grammatical errors. Before a second printing takes place, I hope a good editor reviews the manuscript.
I also think a big problem with the book is that the most central issues in Colombia today are barely mentioned. I am referring to the guerrilla-paramilitary-Colombian military war, which is only mentioned hurriedly in the last two chapters, though this war has been going on during all the years described in the book. It is like ignoring the elephant in the living room to wait until the book is nearly over before mentioning this war--something a good editor should have addressed. Further, unless I missed it, and I don't think I did, there was no mention about Plan Colombia (the U.S. involvement in the war) accompanied by the current, poisonous spraying of Colombia's coca and poppy fields--the "chemical warfare on the poor" as a Colombian archbishop has termed it. We have no idea how the author feels about this horror, or the U.S. support of the corrupt Colombian military.
So read this book, but do educate yourself on the missing issues.[...]
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