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March 30, 2010

Corporal Moncayo is free

Posted in: FARC Hostages

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 Córdoba.

However, as of this writing bad weather has prevented their helicopters, provided by the Brazilian armed forces, from leaving the handover site in rural Caquetá 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 Álvaro 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 Córdoba meets with FARC members at the site where Moncayo was freed.

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