While five years have passed since the signing of the Peace Agreement between the FARC and the Colombian Government, the United States announced that it is preparing the elimination of this rebel group from its list of foreign terrorist organizations. The FARC had been on this list since August 1997, and removing that designation could help free up US aid to projects involving former rebels, as well as strengthen the Accords in general.
It is an emblematic way of celebrating the five years since the signing of the Peace Accords in Colombia. The government of US President Joe Biden decided to remove the defunct Colombian guerrilla FARC from its blacklist of foreign terrorist organizations.
This was explained by the spokesman for the State Department, Ned Price, this Tuesday: “The State Department gave Congress notifications about the next actions in relation to the FARC,” said Price, adding that there would be more details in the coming days.
Information confirmed by the US newspaper ‘The Wall Street Journal’ which, citing sources with knowledge of the process, reported on Tuesday that the official announcement could arrive as soon as this week.
Ned Price praises the Peace Accords
That decision comes on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Peace Accords that officially ended the war in Colombia. “The peace process and the signing of the Peace Accords five years ago was a true turning point in the long Colombian conflict,” recalled Ned Price, underlining that it had “placed Colombia on the path to a just and lasting peace.” .
Today marks 5 years of having signed in Cartagena, before national and international public opinion, the Final Peace Agreement between the Colombian State and the FARC-EP
Reflections and balances are necessary to consolidate this dream of peace with social justice
I open thread pic.twitter.com/GJGH53fmlP
– Rodrigo Londoño (@TimoComunes) September 26, 2021
According to The Washington Post at the end of October, the last time the State Department reviewed the case of the Colombian guerrilla was in 2015, before the Accords were signed. That signature, however, did not lead to the removal of the FARC from that list, – and less so later, with the Covid-19 pandemic that ended up delaying the review process.
The FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) have been on this black list since 1997. As a result, its members have been banned from entering the United States and their access to the international financial system, based on the dollar, has been restricted.
A five-decade conflict that left more than 260,000 dead
Considered the most powerful guerrilla in Latin America, with 13,000 combatants, the FARC signed the Peace Accords with the then president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, on November 24, 2016.
This pact put an end to their participation in the internal armed conflict in the Andean country, which had lasted for decades and which has left millions displaced and more than 260,000 dead. They have surrendered their weapons since then, although peace remains fragile in the country.
The Peace Accords at the time received the support of the administration of then President Barack Obama (2009-2017), in which Joe Biden served as vice president.
The FARC became a political party
After their demobilization, the guerrillas entered politics and, converted into a political party, the ex-rebellion is now a political force, albeit with little weight.
However, among the arguments for removing the group from the list was the fact that former FARC members are now involved in so many aspects of Colombia’s political and economic life that it is difficult to provide certain types of US aid, due to the same restrictions imposed by the blacklist.
In effect, the groups included in the list are facing a freeze on US assets and a ban on Americans providing aid or doing business with them.
So that decision is key, especially for investment in initiatives to achieve the implementation of the points agreed in the Accords, in a new demonstration of support from the United States.
With AFP, EFE, Reuters and local media