It was the news that all of France had been waiting for and this afternoon hundreds of people gathered in front of City Hall to celebrate. This French citizen says Betancourt had become an important symbol. Betancourt's case has always had a special resonance in France, because she spent much of her childhood in Paris as the daughter of two Colombian diplomats. Then she became a French citizen and raised her children here. thousands joined her cause after she was captured and the French government actively worked to secure her release.