Gustavo Guillermo Moncayo Rincón, popularly known as "'El caminante por la paz", (born on November 29, 1952 in Santiago, Putumayo) is a Colombian teacher who decided to undertake a walk of 1,186 km from his hometown Sandoná, in the department of Nariño in the south of Colombia to the capital city Bogotá, seeking to promote an agreement for the release of his son Pablo Emilio who was a prisoner of the guerrilla group FARC since 1997.
Walk from Sandoná to Bogotá
On June 17, 2007, which is Father's Day in Colombia, Moncayo began walking from Sandoná, accompanied by his daughter along the Pan-American Highway, stopping in every town he found on his path to have a rest and to collect signatures for a petition to President Álvaro Uribe to conduct a prisoner exchange.
A few days after, his body started to show signs of fatigue; his and his daughter's feet had to be treated for blisters resulting from the enormous effort.
When he arrived in the city of Cali, he was received by Governor Angelino Garzón who offered him a place to stay. Days after, when he arrived in Pereira he was received by the mayor of the city who decorated him a "citizen of honour". He crossed the highest pass of the Andes before arriving in the city of Ibagué.
Uribe meets Moncayo
The arrival of Gustavo Moncayo at the Plaza de Bolívar led to a public exchange of views between him and President Uribe, who placed the blame and responsibility for the long captivity of the prisoners on the FARC guerrilla group.
After the speeches Moncayo expressed:
|“||Sadly, our children, our beloved ones, continue there in the jungle (...) and us, we are in the middle of this political game between the government and the FARC||”|
He also criticized Uribe for making empty offers to the guerrilla in exchange for the captives.
Fernando Londoño, a former conservative Interior Minister, criticized Moncayo in an opinion column for the regional Colombian newspaper El País. He accused Moncayo's son Pablo Emilio and the other soldiers defending Patascoy of being incompetent during the attack and wrote that his father was spreading "Marxist venom through Colombia's veins".
Pablo Moncayo liberation
- (Spanish) Perfil del caminante por la paz FECODE Accessed 25 August 2007.
- (Spanish) Entregan pruebas de supervivencia de militares secuestrados El País Accessed 25 August 2007.
- (Spanish) La del profesor Moncayo, Una locura de travesía El Diario del Sur Accessed 25 August 2007.
- (Spanish) Alcaldía de Bogotá avala decisión del profesor Moncayo El Espectador Accessed 25 August 2007.
- (Spanish) Padre del soldado Moncayo reinicia su peregrinación pese al agotamiento físico Caracol Radio Accessed 25 August 2007.
- (Spanish) 46 días de travesía CM& Accessed 25 August 2007.
- (Spanish) Caminante por la paz llega a Bogotá BBC Accessed 25 August 2007.
- (Spanish) El profesor Moncayo, El País (Cali), August 7, 2007
- (Spanish) Blog entry of Moncayo's daughter Yury Tatiana Moncayo in the Colombian newspaper El Colombiano
- Colombian man ends protest trek