US removes Colombian rebel group FARC from terrorist list


The Biden administration is taking steps to remove the far-left Colombian rebel group FARC from its list of foreign terrorist organizations in order to show support for a five-year-old peace deal between the guerrillas and the southern country’s government. American.

November 30 will mark the fifth anniversary of the agreement between the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the government of then Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, which ended more than 50 years of fighting.

The State Department confirmed on Tuesday that it had notified Congress of its intention to remove the FARC from the list. The effort was initially reported by the Wall Street Journal.

“The peace process and the signing of the peace agreement five years ago is something that has been a turning point in some respects in the long-standing conflict in Colombia,” the spokesperson told reporters. of the State Department, Ned Price. “This is something that we have recommended, it is something that we have sought to preserve every step of the way.”

The FARC guerrillas march in column during a review in their camp in April 2017.
AFP / Getty Images

“The peace agreement ended five decades of conflict with the FARC and put Colombia on the path to a just and lasting peace,” Price added. “And we therefore remain fully committed to working with our Colombian partners on the implementation of the peace agreement.”

Price said that a US delegation recently met with current Colombian President Ivan Duque and the country’s Foreign Minister in Bogota, “and obviously the implementation and preservation of the peace agreement was a topic central in these discussions “.

Politicians, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (right), meet in Bogota on Wednesday to commemorate five years of the peace treaty between the Colombian government and the FARC.
Politicians, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (right), meet in Bogota on Wednesday to commemorate five years of the peace treaty between the Colombian government and the FARC.
EPA

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spoke out on Wednesday against the removal of the terrorist designation of the FARC, which Cruz described as “an organization of Marxist-Leninist narco-terrorists”.

“For decades, they have killed, kidnapped and extorted Colombians,” he said. “They murdered and captured American citizens. They continue to pose a serious threat to Colombian security and to American interests throughout the region.

“Removing the FARC from the list of terrorist organizations will encourage them to expand their violence and interfere with civilian activities,” he added.

A Colombian soldier patrols Marquetalia, the birthplace of the FARC, in October 2021.
A Colombian soldier patrols Marquetalia, the birthplace of the FARC, in October 2021.
AFP via Getty Images

Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) Agreed with Cruz, saying it was “absolutely unacceptable” for the administration to take such a step.

“Once again, Biden chooses appeasement and proves he doesn’t care about the security and stability of Latin America,” Scott wrote on Twitter.

Colombian officials have argued that removing the FARC from the list of foreign terrorist organizations would amount to recognition by the United States that the group is no longer engaged in efforts to overthrow the government by force and has reorganized itself into political party, according to the Journal reported.

“For the Biden administration, it’s a low-cost thing,” Sergio Jaramillo, the architect of the Santos administration’s peace deal, told the newspaper. “It sends the signal to the FARC, ‘it’s been five years, you did your part, you behaved well, and we are removing you from the list.'”

The Obama administration, in which Biden was vice president, helped negotiate the deal between the Colombian government and the FARC, which was designated a terrorist organization by the United States in 1997.

After the pact was signed, some of the rebels entered politics, but other members of the group who opposed the deal continue to operate in the Colombian countryside.

FARC guerrillas pose for a photo in 2016.
FARC guerrillas pose for a photo in 2016.
AFP / Getty Images

Dropping the terrorist designation would also allow the United States to fund programs in Colombia run by former FARC combatants, according to the Journal.

Bernard Aronson, a former US envoy who participated in the peace negotiations, said the dropping of the designation sent a message to other violent groups around the world.

“If groups that were once violent revolutionary groups are never allowed to be taken off the list, it is one less incentive for them to make peace,” Aronson told the newspaper. “You are undermining the incentives for other groups to renounce terrorism, violent struggle. “

View of a mine laid by FARC guerrillas, photographed in October 2021.
A mine laid by the FARC guerrillas.
AFP via Getty Images

Created in 1964, the FARC were responsible for a campaign of terror in the South American country – including kidnappings and summary executions – which resulted in the deaths of 260,000 people.

With post wires





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