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REPUBLICAN SENATORS Ted Cruz (TX) and Marco Rubio (FL) introduced a bill before Congress that seeks to redesignate the Colombian guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as a terrorist organization and impose sanctions on its members and seven individuals with ties to the criminal group.
In late November, the Biden Administration removed the FARC from the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), arguing that since the signing in Havana, Cuba, of a peace treaty between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the terrorist group, it “no longer exists as a unified organization that engages in terrorism or terrorist activity or has the capability or intent to do so.”
At the time, Senator Rubio referred to the measure as “a step backwards for the stability and security of Colombia” and said that the U.S. government “will only provide these terrorists and their political sympathizers with enhanced capability, financial resources, and perceived international legitimacy to destabilize our closest ally in the region.”
Accordingly, the bill seeks to reinclude the FARC in the FTO, along with terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and thus block properties and prevent transactions with and between persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism.
“For decades, the Colombian people have been innocent targets of the FARC’s terrorist attacks,” Rubio said in a statement. “The Biden Administration’s decision to delist this guerilla group as a Foreign Terrorist organization, not only failed the Colombian-American community but also set back our region’s security,” he added.
The Cuban-born senator clarified that the legislation will oblige the State Department to prepare a report with the links between the criminal group and seven affiliates of Colombian nationality.
The seven individuals include five former FARC guerrillas and two leftist senators: Piedad Córdoba, a congresswoman elected by the Pacto Histórico, the far-left political movement that carried former guerrilla Gustavo Petro to victory in the presidential election, and Sandra Ramirez, for the Comunes party.
“Since Córdoba’s ties to the FARC are well known, she can expect to be subject to U.S. sanctions if it is enacted,” Rubio added.
The other five individuals who were removed from the FTO along with the rest of the organization are Jose Benito Cabrera Cuevas (alias Fabian Ramirez), Erasmo Traslavina Benavides (alias Jimmy Guerrero), Emiro Ropero (alias Ruben Zamora), Guillermo Enrique Torres Cueter (alias Julian Conrado) and Rodrigo Granda (alias Gallopinto).
For his part, Senator Cruz said Biden’s decision to remove the FARC from the FTO list was “reckless,” given that the terrorist organization has “created catastrophes” in the South American country and fueled the leftist movements that brought Petro to the Colombian presidency.
“The FARC is responsible for some of the most heinous acts of terror in the western hemisphere, and this decision gave up a key tool through which the U.S. was holding FARC terrorists accountable,” Cruz added. “My bill will begin to repair the damage of this decision.”
Tomás Lugo, journalist and writer. Born in Venezuela and graduated in Social Communication. Has written for international media outlets. Currently living in Colombia // Tomás Lugo, periodista y articulista. Nacido en Venezuela y graduado en Comunicación Social. Ha escrito para medios internacionales. Actualmente reside en Colombia.