US U-turns on rebels’ terrorist status after 20 years — Analysis

Just five years after the signing of a peace agreement between Colombia’s government and rebel groups, the US officially removed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia from its list of terrorist foreign organizations.

Antony Blinken, US Secretary Of State, confirmed this in a statement “The Department of State is revoking the designations of the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FT)”It has been more than 20 years.

FARC was designated as an FT in 1997, during President Bill Clinton’s administration, in the middle of a violent conflict between the group and the country’s government that spanned decades.

FARC and the Colombian government came to a peaceful agreement on the 24th of November 2016, bringing an end to the violence. FARC collaborated with the United Nations to surrender and decommission its weapons two years later before becoming a political party.

Although the terrorist designation was removed, the Biden administration stated that it had not changed its mind. “does not change the [US government’s] posture with regards to any charges or potential charges in the United States against former leaders of the FARC.”Blinken said that the move was intended to “facilitate the ability of the United States to better support implementation of the 2016 [peace] accord.”

FARC-EP and Segunda Marquetalia, which have been tagged as terrorists by the US since the 1990s are being removed. The US will however designate splinter groups who continue to engage in dissident behaviours as FTs. FARC EP and Segunda Marquetalia are former FARC militants. They have been accused of continuing their fight against Colombia and aiding drug trafficking. They are said to be made up of ex-FARC rebels, who refuse to accept the peace accord.



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