WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration officially revoked the terrorist designation of the former FARC guerrilla army in Colombia, but recently imposed the designation on commanders and offshoots of the group who refused to lay down their arms.
The lifting of the terrorist designation of the FARC – the commonly used Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – comes five years after the guerrilla army signed a peace accord aimed at ending half a century of attacks and political fighting, assassinations and kidnappings. Colombia says more than 220,000 people have died in violence fueled by the proceeds of drug trafficking.
The foreign terrorist designation prohibits any foreign financial organization from providing material financial services to targeted entities and criminalizes providing material support to them.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the FARC “no longer exists as a unified organization that engages in terrorism or terrorist activities or has the capacity or intention to do so” .
The group signed a peace accord in 2016 and in 2018 participated in a UN-supervised decommissioning of the last of its accessible weapons.
The FARC is today designated as a political party, with a guaranteed share of seats in the Colombian legislature.
The United States was urged to lift the terrorist designation. Keeping ex-guerrillas on the list has prevented U.S. agencies and their contractors from helping development projects that include veterans in Colombian countryside, such as efforts to clear landmines or replace illegal crops. like the coca leaf.
In his statement, Blinken said the revocation did not waive the United States’ option to prosecute former FARC leaders for drug trafficking or other crimes, or overturn the Colombian panel’s finding on the crimes of war according to which FARC commanders committed crimes against humanity.
Instead, the move will allow the United States “to better support the implementation of the 2016 accord, including working with demobilized fighters,” Blinken said.
The FARC rebels newly designated by the United States as foreign terrorist organizations and terrorists are the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army and Segunda Marquetalia, and the men the United States has identified as their leaders – Luciano Marin Arango , Hernan Dario Velasquez Saldarriaga, Henry Castellanos Garzon, Nestor Gregorio Vera Fernandez, Miguel Santanilla Botache and Euclides Espana Caicedo,
The groups, which have refused to demobilize or have reverted to violence, have carried out armed attacks, political killings and kidnappings since the peace agreement, the United States said.
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