Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has spoken out against the Biden administration’s attempt to remove the Colombian communist rebel group from the list of foreign terrorist organizations, calling it an “insult” to the Colombian American community in his state.
Funded by extortion, kidnapping and billion dollar cocaine trafficking operations, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) fought a guerrilla war against the state for over half a century until 2016, when far-left insurgents signed a peace agreement that is still in progress. The decades-long conflict has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions more, including many families who have settled in Florida.
In response to a recent report that the US State Department plans to remove FARC from its international terrorist list, DeSantis called the move a “reckless decision,” noting that the group “has perpetuated countless killings, bombings, killings, kidnappings and attacks.” in the name of the redistribution of wealth.
“Biden’s policies are an insult to members of the Colombian American community, many of whom have fled the terrorist group’s barbaric attacks on civilians,” the Republican governor said. “This is a grave mistake by the Biden administration and will harm Florida residents.”
He also argued that the move could “give courage to terrorist groups across Latin America,” empower drug traffickers and pave the way for a resurgence of left-wing authoritarian Castro-Chavezism in Colombia.
DeSantis’ criticism is echoed by Florida Rep. Charlie Christ, who is in the upcoming Democratic gubernatorial primaries. The former governor and current congressman said the FARC earned its name as a terrorist group for provoking “decades of war and death.”
“I join Colombians from all over Florida and our country in deeply concerned about reports that the State Department is considering removing FARC from the list of international terrorist organizations,” Christ said in a statement. “He must not win his legitimacy in the United States without the advice and consent of the community that calls America home.”
Florida Senator Annette Taddeo, another Democratic nominee for governor in 2022, also opposed the move. Taddeo, whose mother is Colombian, recalled on twitter that she had to flee her home country at the age of 7 “because of the Marxist terrorist organization, FARC, the militia group that kidnapped my father, who was an American WWII fighter pilot.”
“This news is outrageous and I just hung up the phone at the State Department to let them know how outrageous it is,” she said.
During a November 23 press briefing, White House spokesman Jen Psaki was asked about the status of the FARC and whether it was “delisted” as a terrorist group.
“I have no updates on this,” Psaki told the reporter. “I am happy to contact our national security service and see if there is anything we can get across to all of you.”
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. At the time of publication, FARC remains on the agency’s list of international terrorist organizations.