The children of Ingrid Betancourt embraced their mother for the first time in 6 years today in a tear-drenched airport welcome, a day after the former presidential candidate was freed from rebel captivity by Colombia's government. "Nirvana, paradise—that must be very similar to what I feel at this moment," Betancourt told reporters as she fought back tears, her son bending over to kiss her and her daughter clinging tightly to her arm.
France's government flew the children to meet Betancourt, a dual citizen whose captivity became a celebrated cause in the nation where she spent her childhood. The office of President Nicolas Sarkozy said Betancourt herself would arrive in Paris tomorrow. Betancourt said earlier she was probably alive today thanks to France's efforts on her behalf. "I want to tell President Sarkozy—and through him all the French people—that they were our support, our light," Betancourt said.