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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Laureates  

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Ingrid Betancourt

Prince of Asturias Award for Concord 2008

10-September-2008

"I feel an immense emotion on hearing this news. I know that I am not worthy of such a distinction, but I accept it with both great respect and humility. I see in this marvellous event a happy omen for who is actually worthy of it, my beloved Homeland, Colombia, thirsting for Concord and Peace. I venture to receive it on behalf of my kidnapped companions, those who are waiting their turn for freedom, and with great love, on behalf of my companions who will not return, those who died in the jungle: Guillermo Gaviria, Gilberto Echeverri, the 11 representatives for the Cauca Valley and Major Guevara. My wish is that this award may alleviate the sadness of their families, in recognition of their great sacrifice. I know that Spain has always been there for us, at times of terrible pain and at times like this, of extraordinary joy. I thank God and ask him to guide me so that I may both rise and respond wisely to the opportunities that open up to serve those who suffer and to be the voice of those who cannot express themselves".

Ingrid Betancourt
New York, 10th September 2008

11-September-2008

"The Prince of Asturias Award for Concord bestowed on Ingrid Betancourt is an acknowledgment of the courage and tenacity with which all those held kidnap in the world face up to torture and the hardship to which they are subjected by terrorism, which is the most atrocious of all crimes against humanity", stated Colombia´s ambassador to Spain, Carlos Rodado Noriega.

"The Government and people of Colombia look with satisfaction on this acclaim, which also constitutes an acknowledgment of the efficacy and commitment of the Colombian Armed Forces, who, by means of a daring and bloodless action, managed to rescue fifteen people who were in the hands of outlawed groups.

[The Government] also reiterates its decision to guarantee the security and integrity of all citizens within the national territory and takes advantage of this occasion to appeal to the forces of subversion to lay down their arms and become involved in the democratic life of the country."

In this respect, the Ambassador reiterated that the National Security Policy remains as much in force as ever and efforts will not cease to achieve the freedom of those who still remain captive.

"Kidnapping constitutes an attack on the freedom, integrity and dignity of human beings," stated Ambassador Rodado Noriega.

Colombian Embassy in Spain
Madrid, 10th September 2008

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