Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) teamed up with other lawmakers to redefine the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Last year, the Biden administration removed the group from terrorist lists, a move garnered backlash from Republicans and Democrats.
“For decades, the Colombian people have been innocent targets of the FARC’s terrorist attacks,” Rubio said in a statement. “The Biden Administration’s decision to delist this guerilla group as a Foreign Terrorist organization, not only failed the Colombian-American community but also set back our region’s security. This bill will also ensure the State Department submits a report on seven individuals’ ties to the FARC, including Sandra Ramirez Lobo Silva and Piedad Córdoba. Since Córdoba’s ties to the FARC are well known, she can expect to be subject to U.S. sanctions if it is enacted.”
When the Biden administration initially made the decision to pull the group off terrorist lists, Rubio initially called it “a step backwards for the stability and security of Colombia.”
Many Colombian expatriates have resettled in Florida as a result of the instability in Colombia.
“Colombia has endured decades of pain and suffering because of the vicious terrorist attacks spearheaded by the FARC,” Rubio said in November 2021. “The Biden Administration’s decision to remove the FARC from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list risks emboldening narcoterrorists and the regimes that sponsor them throughout our region. Congress must hold hearings on this decision to examine what it means for stability in the hemisphere, as well as U.S. and Colombian security interests.”
As Florida’s Republicans sounded off on their opposition to the Biden administration’s decision, even many Florida Democrats of Hispanic descent also came out against the decision. Columbian American Florida Senator Annette Taddeo voiced her opposition to it.
“When I was 17 years old I was forced to flee Colombia, the only country I ever knew, because of the Marxist terrorist organization, FARC, a group of militias who kidnapped my father, who was a WWII American fighter pilot,” she wrote.
In general, Floridians with Latin American roots have been dismayed by the dictatorial takeovers of many of their home countries and the cozying of Democrats to authoritarian policies.
“They’ve seen the poll numbers,” said Juan Zapata, a former Republican state representative. “It’s a disaster. … The people of South Florida, and now throughout the United States, know this is a terrible deal. … it’s not just Colombian Americans. It started with Fidel Castro in Cuba. There’s Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. And it went to Venezuela with Hugo Chávez.”
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