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Republican Lawmaker Wants Colombian Communist Guerrilla Group Back on the Terrorist List

Sen. Bryan Avila pushes to reclassify the Colombian group known for assassinations, kidnappings and drug trafficking as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — A new proposal calling on the federal government to reclassify the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) – most commonly known by the acronym FARC – as a Foreign Terrorist Organization is rapidly advancing through the Florida Legislative Session, propelled by bipartisan support.

FARC began as an offshoot of the Colombian Communist party in 1964, and waged a 52-year guerrilla war against the Colombian government until the 2016 signing of a permanent ceasefire agreement.

Though FARC has a history of violating past peace treaties, the U.S. Secretary of State removed FARC from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list in November 2021, leading to Senator Bryan Avila’s (R-Miami) reclassification efforts via Senate Memorial SM 160.

Avila called for the Florida Legislature to “declare a firm commitment to the Colombian people and the Colombian Community in the USA by urging the U.S. Secretary of State to redesignate FARC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.”

“All of the FARC-dissident groups have links among themselves,” Avila said, referencing the 30 guerilla militia groups formed after the 2016 peace treaty by former FARC members. Taken together, Sen. Avila argues, they fulfill the hostility requirements for being placed on the foreign terrorist organization list.

According to the State Department’s Bureau on Counterterrorism, a group can be classified as a Foreign Terrorist Organization if it retains the capability and intent to engage in acts of terrorism.

Florida has the largest concentration of Colombians in the United States, with nearly 250,000 calling Sen. Avila’s home turf of Miami and surrounding South Florida home.

Recent trends show Colombians moving farther Right in recent years, partially contributing to Florida being the only key state to have Latinos vote majority Republican in the 2022 midterm elections.

SM 160 has a high chance of passing Florida’s Legislative Session, due to the companion memorial HM 167 in the House of Representatives, and its favorably unanimous votes in both the Rules Committee and the Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security.

SM 160 will next move to the Senate floor for a final vote, and if passed, the Secretary of State will dispatch it to the U.S. Congress for consideration.

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