US removes Colombia’s Farc from the list of terrorist organizations

The United States removed Colombia’s Farc from the list of foreign terrorist organizations in recognition of the guerrilla group’s decision five years ago to sign a peace agreement with the Colombian state and hand over weapons to the country. this.

The foreign ministry also on Tuesday added two groups of Farc splinters to the list, an acknowledgment that Colombia continue to be surrounded by violence despite the peace deal, spurred in part by former Marxist guerrillas, many of whom are now involved in the drug trade.

“Following a 2016 Peace Agreement with the Colombian government, Farc was officially dissolved and disarmed,” Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said in a statement. statement on Tuesday. “It no longer exists as a unified organization that engages in terrorism or terrorist activity or has the ability or intention to do so.”

Farc has been designated a terrorist organization since 2001, when the George W Bush government first made the list in response to the September 11 attacks.

Formed in 1964 in the mountains of central Colombia, the group has waged a half-century war to overthrow the state, killing and kidnapping thousands. At the height of this century, it counted about 20,000 men and women under its arm.

It began as a political group inspired by the Cuban revolution, but transformed in the following years, becoming more and more dependent on income from the drug trade and other criminal activities.

After signing the historic peace accord in 2016, Farc become a political party and changed its name to Comunes, or Commons.

The State Department said the decision to redesign Farc “does not change our position regarding any potential charges or allegations in the United States against former Farc leaders, including against the ship’s driver.” Underground”.

The move will have practical consequences, allowing American organizations like USAID to work alongside Farc veterans on projects related to the peace process. Such projects include removal programs mine from rural communities and encourage farmers to tear down their coca plantations – the raw material for cocaine production – and switch to legal farming.

The two groups that bombarded Farc that the US added to the terrorist list were the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (Farc-EP) and the Segunda Marquetalia.

They are made up of guerrillas who either refused to sign up for the 2016 deal or abandoned the deal.

Farc-EP has been active since the agreement was signed. Blinken said it was responsible for “the vast majority of armed attacks attributed to dissidents in Farc since 2019”.

Segunda Marquetalia was founded in 2019 and takes its name from the area where Farc was originally formed in the 1960s.

The US has designated six men – three from each group – as terrorists, including Luciano Marin Arango, better known by the guerrilla Iván Marquez, founder and leader of the Segunda Marquetalia. He was a key part of the team that negotiated the accords in 2016 but has since returned to arms.

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