4,483 days after the FARC guerrillas took him hostage, Corporal Pablo Emilio Moncayo has been freed. The FARC handed him over to a commission of Colombian church representatives, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Colombian Senator Piedad CÃ³rdoba.
However, as of this writing bad weather has prevented their helicopters, provided by the Brazilian armed forces, from leaving the handover site in rural CaquetÃ¡ department. The 30-year-old Moncayo’s family, who have not seen him since he was 18 back in 1997, must wait a few more hours to see him.
The FARC continues to hold 21 more soldiers and police to pressure for a prisoner exchange. While President Ãlvaro Uribe recently said he was open to negotiating such an exchange, this does not represent a significant departure from his earlier positions. A “humanitarian exchange” dialogue probably remains far off, not least because Colombia is in the midst of a presidential campaign.
Top: Moncayo moments before his release. Bottom: Colombian Sen. Piedad CÃ³rdoba meets with FARC members at the site where Moncayo was freed.