Colombia: FARC frees Moncayo and Calvo

Two Colombian soldiers, Sgt. Pablo Emilio Moncayo and Pvt. Josué Daniel Calvo, returned to their hometowns on April 15 following their release by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and more than two weeks of rest and medical tests in Bogotá. Calvo, who was freed by the FARC on March 28 after 11 months in captivity, was greeted by family, friends and the departmental governor in Popayán, capital of southwestern Cauca department, while Moncayo, released on March 30, arrived at Sandoná in the southwestern department of Nariño accompanied by his parents and other family members.

Along with José Libio Martínez Estrada, who remains in captivity, Moncayo is the soldier who has spent the most time as prisoner of the FARC; he and Martínez were captured in a rebel attack on an army base on Dec. 21, 1997. Moncayo is especially well-known because his father, the schoolteacher Gustavo Moncayo, carried out a “walk for peace” for several years to call for the government and the FARC to negotiate his son’s release.

Shortly after being freed, Sgt. Moncayo thanked his father, the “indefatigable” Colombian senator Piedad Córdoba, Colombians for Peace, the Catholic Church and the International Red Cross for their work in arranging his release. “I want to thank the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa,” he added, “because he called for the guerrillas to make a gesture of peace with my handover. Also I want to thank the efforts of the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, and of Brasil, [Luiz Inácio] Lula da Silva.” (EFE. April 15 via, Spain;, April 1 via Upside Down World)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, May 9.

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