The U.S. removed the FARC from the list of foreign terrorist organizations to be able to cooperate with former members turned politicians. The president of Colombia respects the decision but would have preferred another one.
On November 30, the U.S. Department of State published a statement confirming it revoked “the designations of the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO)“.
The decision follows the peace agreement sealed in 2016 with the Colombian government where the FARC dissolved and disarmed.
The United States then recognizes that the FARC “no longer exists as a unified organization that engages in terrorism or terrorist activity“.
The U.S. had included the FARC in the list in 1997. The movement was created in the 1960s.
Being part of the list of a Foreign Terrorist Organization forbids anyone or any organization to interact with the terrorist group or their members by providing any material support or resources, except for medicines or religious materials.
For the U.S., removing the FARC from the list allows them to provide further support to Colombia into the implementation of their peace programs.
FARC members who dropped their weapons formed a communist political party: the Commons. And the U.S. was not able to interact with the political party, financially support or involve former members of the FARC into peace programs.
The U.S. had to delist the FARC from a terrorist group in order “carry out the development programming with former members of the FARC“, answered Brian A. Nichols, assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, to the Republican senator from Florida Marco Rubio.
Charges of drug trafficking to former members of the FARC are not dropped
For instance, it was impossible to fully implement aid from the USAID, the civilian foreign aid and development assistance, if it involved former members of the FARC who were elected as Colombian representatives now.
The information had partially leaked during the 5-year anniversary of the peace agreement last week. But it only mentioned the FARC was going to be delisted.
However, the U.S. don’t drop existing charges or any potential upcoming charges against former members of the FARC, including of narcotrafficking. As a consequence, they would not be allowed to freely travel to the United States confirmed Juan S. Gonzalez, special assistant to the U.S. president Joe Biden during a radio interview with Caracol.
“They will be able to swim at beaches of Cartagena but not Miami’s“, he added.
Moreover, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, People’s Army (FARC-EP) and Segunda Marquetalia, have been added to the list of terrorist groups. Their designated leaders, too. Members of these groups are dissidents from the FARC and continue their former operations.
Iván Duque, the Colombian president, wasn’t thrilled by the decision to remove the FARC from the list. “We understand and respect [the decision], we would have preferred another decision, we are today focused on facing dissidents, confronting these groups“, said the Colombian president during a press conference.
President Joe Biden is supposed to visit Colombia in December.