Gustavo Guillermo Moncayo Rincón, popularly known as "'El caminante por la paz" (Spanish for "the Walker for Peace"), (born on November 29, 1952 in Santiago, Putumayo) is a Colombian teacher who in 2007 walked 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 had been a prisoner of the guerrilla group FARC since 1997.
Walk from Sandoná to Bogotá
On 17 June 2007, which is Father's Day in Colombia, Moncayo, accompanied by his daughter, began walking from Sandoná along the Pan-American Highway, stopping in every town he found on his path, to rest and to collect signatures on a petition asking President Álvaro Uribe to free his son, and other hostages held by the FARC, through a prisoner-exchange.
After few days, 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, Moncayo was received by Governor Angelino Garzón who offered him a place to stay. Days later, when he arrived in Pereira, he was received by the mayor of that 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 offered to declare a "meeting zone" for ninety days, in which his representatives and those of the FARC might negotiate a peace accord, but that such a step could come only after the FARC released its hostages.
- Sadly, our children, our loved ones, remain there in the jungle . . . and we are in the middle of this political game between the government and the FARC.
He also expressed the opinion that Uribe's offer to the FARC was not serious.
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.[dead link]
- (Spanish) Entregan pruebas de supervivencia de militares secuestrados El País Accessed 25 August 2007.[dead link]
- (Spanish) La del profesor Moncayo, Una locura de travesía El Diario del Sur Accessed 25 August 2007.[dead link]
- (Spanish) Alcaldía de Bogotá avala decisión del profesor Moncayo El Espectador Accessed 25 August 2007.[dead link]
- (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.[dead link]
- (Spanish) Caminante por la paz llega a Bogotá BBC Accessed 25 August 2007.
- (Spanish) Cuestionan oferta de Uribe BBC Accessed 25 August 2007.
- (Spanish) El profesor Moncayo, El País (Cali), August 7, 2007[dead link]
- (Spanish) Blog entry of Moncayo's daughter Yury Tatiana Moncayo in the Colombian newspaper El Colombiano
- Colombian man ends protest trek