The Biden administration is set to drop the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a rebel group from Colombia, from a terrorist groups list, according to a report.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, “[t]he officials said the move could come no later than Nov. 30,” which would be during the five-year commemoration of the peace deal made between the former President Juan Manuel Santos and rebel members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
“Negotiated with U.S. support, the agreement ended a 52-year-conflict and resulted in Mr. Santos winning the Nobel Peace Prize,” The Journal noted. After the agreement was reached, FARC started to disband and 13,000 people put down their weapons.
The Journal added:
The administration is also exploring whether to place militant groups made up of former FARC rebels on the list of terrorist organizations, including the New Marquetalia group, which is led by a former FARC commander who broke from the peace pact and operates along the border with Venezuela, the officials said.
The Guardian noted that “since the signing of the peace deal, the limitations on Farc members imposed by the terror listing have hindered the accord’s implementation, analysts say, as individually listed former combatants are unable to access the local banking system.”
Experts point to how this could pave a way for far-Left politicians to rise to power in the country, essentially giving legitimacy to a terrorist organization. Analysts are also stating that Colombian voters in Florida could turn against the Democratic Party over this move after many Latino voters threw their support behind Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
As reported by NBC News in November of last year, “According to NBC News exit polls, 45 percent of Latino voters in Florida supported Trump, up by 10 percentage points from 2016.”
The outlet noted:
The Trump campaign spent significant time courting the 250,000 eligible Colombian voters in Florida, a group that got far less media attention. The messaging often involved Colombian politics more than domestic policy, and it was covered extensively by news outlets from Colombia, which are frequently consumed by Colombian Americans, while getting scant attention in the U.S.
The Daily Wire’s Giancarlo Sopo noted the political implications of such an action on Tuesday, tweeting, “This is a major political miscalculation by Biden. There are a quarter million Colombian voters in Florida — almost 3x’s the number of Venezuelan voters. They tend to vote [Democrat] but moved to the GOP by double-digits last year. They will abandon the Democrats in droves over this.”
This is a major political miscalculation by Biden.
There are a quarter million Colombian voters in Florida — almost 3x's the number of Venezuelan voters.
They tend to vote Dem but moved to the GOP by double-digits last year. They will abandon the Democrats in droves over this. https://t.co/upfSVpleGB
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) November 23, 2021
Politicians in Florida have already started speaking out against the White House’s potential decision.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Annette Taddeo tweeted, “When I was 17 years old I was forced to flee Colombia, the only country I ever knew because of the Marxist terrorist organization, FARC, a group of militias who kidnapped my father who was a WWII American fighter pilot.”
She added, “This news is outrageous and I just hung up with the State department to let them know just how outrageous it is,” pushing the notion that key Democratic figures in Florida were not notified of the potential move ahead of time.
When I was 17 years old I was forced to flee Colombia, the only country I ever knew because of the Marxist terrorist organization, FARC, a group of militias who kidnapped my father who was a WWII American fighter pilot.
— Annette Taddeo (She/Her/Ella) (@Annette_Taddeo) November 23, 2021
The Journal noted how Representative María Elvira Salazar (R-FL) wrote on Twitter that by removing FARC from the list, “the Biden White House is signaling that FARC is not so evil.”
In 1997, the organization was added to the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
As defined by the State Department, “[Foreign Terrorist Organization] designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business.”
The group was reportedly established in 1964 and carried out assaults on towns, executions without trials, and kidnappings, including those of Americans. The group’s members still appear to be actively wreaking terror across the region.
FARC leaders tried to assassinate the Colombian president earlier this year. As reported by Reuters in July, “Colombia has arrested 10 people accused of involvement in attacks on a helicopter carrying President Ivan Duque and a military base last month that officials said on Thursday were planned by former FARC rebel leaders based in Venezuela.”
The Journal included specific commentary from the White House:
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday that the department has notified Congress of forthcoming actions regarding FARC.
The Biden administration is “fully committed to working with our Colombian partners on the implementation of the peace accord,” he said.