Marco Rubio, Rick Scott Write Biden, Stressing Their Opposition to Removing FARC From Terrorist List

This week, Florida’s two U.S. senators–Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott–sent a letter to President Joe Biden following the U.S. State Department’s decision to remove the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) from the State Department’s list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).

The letter is below.

Dear Mr. President:

We write with grave concern over your administration’s decision to remove the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) from the State Department’s list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). This is a step backwards for the stability and security of Colombia and 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.

Maintaining the FARC’s designation as a FTO is critical to ensuring that American taxpayer dollars do not fund terrorists abroad and that American funding does not support these terrorists’ permissive Marxist political sympathizers who seek to undermine a democratic Colombia and its strong bipartisan partnership with the United States. Our nation designated the FARC as a FTO in October 1997, not only because of its destructive tactics to achieve a radical Marxist political agenda in Colombia, but also because of the violent, destabilizing effect its drug trade has on American communities. Despite the 2016 peace negotiations, which were brokered by Nicolás Maduro and Raúl Castro, many elements of the FARC continue to carry out 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 travelled to visit the victims of the Cúcuta attack, FARC members and their National Liberation Army (ELN) allies fired upon President Duque’s helicopter.

While your administration has attempted to distinguish the “good” members of the FARC from the “bad” members of the FARC by simultaneously adding to the FTO list the FARC dissidents and Segunda Marquetalia, the reality is that this bifurcation is cosmetic at best and opens a new source of financing and assistance for these terrorist organizations. As such, we respectfully request answers to the following questions by December 8, 2021:

What criteria did the State Department use to determine which FARC dissident organizations were listed?

Did the State Department confer with the Director of National Intelligence or the Department of Defense on the decision to remove the FARC from the FTO list?

Did the State Department confer with the Director of National Intelligence or the Department of Defense on the decision to add FARC-affiliated groups to the list?

Does this policy reflect a change in the administration’s approach towards other violent terrorist organizations that have retained political arms they claim are separate from their militant wings, such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Taliban?

While we share your aspiration for a peaceful and prosperous Colombia as part of a stable Western Hemisphere, we firmly believe that removing the FARC from the designated list of FTOs is detrimental and counterproductive to this important goal. 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. It is unacceptable to provide concessions to groups that attack innocent civilians, kidnap American citizens, attempt to assassinate elected officials, and prop up a dangerous and illegitimate regime in Venezuela.

We strongly disagree with the decision to delist the FARC from the FTO list and further urge you to continue to support robust security cooperation with Colombia’s democratically elected government that has been the hallmark of bipartisan U.S. policy towards Colombia for decades. Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your prompt reply.

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