'Mom, You Don't Have to Cry Anymore'

Betancourt reunited with family; US contractors on their way home
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2008 8:10 PM CDT
Ingrid Betancourt, bottom row second from left, prays with her mother, Yolanda Pulecio, bottom row far left, along with other freed hostages in Bogota.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Ingrid Betancourt embraced her family today after six years of captivity in the Colombian jungle, the Washington Post reports. "Mom, you don't have to cry anymore," said Betancourt, one of 15 hostages freed from FARC rebels. "This is a miracle." Betancourt appeared thin but healthy at a Bogota military base and wore an ever-present smile. Meanwhile, three US contractors kidnapped in 2003 were on way their back to the US tonight.

Colombian troops rescued 15 hostages in all today, with Betancourt, a former presidential candidate, the most high-profile of the bunch. She called the rescue operation "perfect" and said hostages didn't realize what was going on until their helicopter took off. "The chief of the operation said, 'We are the national army, and you are all free!'" she said. "We started jumping. We screamed. We cried. We couldn't believe it."