I couldn’t have been happier to come home last night to the news from journalist and Colombia-based Matador member Richard McColl that Ingrid Betancourt had finally been rescued after six years in captivity as a hostage of Colombia’s FARC forces.

In a daring military operation that may well become one of the world’s boldest rescues in history, and which Betancourt herself described as an “extraordinary symphony in which everything went perfectly,” Betancourt and other FARC hostages were secured and then freed on Wednesday.

You don’t have to know who Betancourt is to understand how extraordinary this news is, but learning a bit more about her reveals how important this amazing, strong woman has been for Colombia, Latin America, and the rest of the world. Betancourt, former Colombian senator and presidential candidate, was known for fighting corruption and supporting social justice movements.

For more about Betancourt, read this January 2002 Salon.com interview. Just one month later, Betancourt was kidnapped.

I also recommend Betancourt’s memoir, Until Death Do Us Part: My Struggle to Reclaim Colombia.

And check out this video, in which Betancourt reunites with her mother. You don’t have to speak French to understand the intense emotion that is shared between mother and daughter.

Betancourt says she still aspires to serve Colombia as president.
Ingrid Betancourt: LIBRE POR FIN! FREE AT LAST! Miracles do happen.