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U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, both Republicans, expressed their disagreement with President Biden’s decision to remove the Colombian criminal group FARC from the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.
In a letter sent to Biden on Wednesday, Rubio and Scott express “grave concern” regarding the administration’s decision made official on Tuesday, referring to it as “a step backwards for the stability and security of Colombia.”
“[This decision] 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,” reads the senators’ letter.
The representatives consider it “fundamental” to maintain the FARC’s designation as a terrorist group as a guarantee that the United States will not fund its criminal activities or benefit its “permissive Marxist political sympathizers” who seek to “undermine” Colombia’s democracy and “its strong bipartisan partnership with the United States.”
Rubio and Scott question peace agreement
Under Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols told the U.S. Senate on Tuesday that the decision was made as a sign of support for the peace agreement signed in 2016 by former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Rubio and Scott recalled in their missive that that agreement “was brokered by Nicolás Maduro and Raúl Castro” and did not stop FARC terrorist attacks.
“Just this year, FARC members detonated two car bombs that injured 43 people in the Cauca province and 36 people in the city of Cúcuta. When Colombian President Iván Duque traveled to visit the victims of the Cúcuta attack, FARC members and their National Liberation Army (ELN) allies fired upon President Duque’s helicopter.”
In addition, the document questions the decision to include active FARC dissidents and the Second Marquetalia (both active groups of the organization) in the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, indicating that this is a “cosmetic bifurcation” and that it “opens a new source of funding for these terrorist organizations”.
“Rather than fostering reconciliation with de-mobilized combatants, we fear this decision only emboldens and enables those FARC members who reject any and all attempts at peace as well as their enablers in the FARC political arm in Bogotá,” the Republicans wrote.
Finally, the senators consider the decision “unacceptable” as it deals with criminals who “attack innocent civilians, kidnap American citizens, attempt to assassinate elected officials” and keep the “dangerous” regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela in place.