Colombia’s Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) terror group are celebrating a “peace” deal reached last year with the government — and rejected by voters — by launching a political party.
While the Colombian government has allowed the FARC to become a legalized institution despite half a century of murder, rape, and mass abductions, the State Department told Breitbart News that the group responsible for the death or disappearance of some 300,000 people will remain designated a terrorist organization.
“FARC remains a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” a spokesman told Breitbart News when asked if the development would influence State’s designation. There is no indication their status would change in the near future.
The FARC announced this week that they would launch an official political party in September.
Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. FTO designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business.
As reported this month by Breitbart News, FARC commander Carlos Antonio Lozada told the Agence France-Presse that the FARC is planning a celebration to launch its political party on September 1. The FARC has not yet agreed on the name of the party or a consistent policy platform, but have scheduled a “congress” of its terrorist leaders for late August.
“We will publicly launch the party on September 1 in the Plaza de Bolivar,” Bogotá, Lozada said, which the AFP noted will be close to the date Pope Francis is expected to visit Colombia.
In October of last year, Colombia voted to reject a peace deal with the FARC. In one of the closest major referendums of modern times, 50.24 percent of voters rejected the deal to bring the war to an end, while 49.76 percent backed it. Opposition was especially strong in the rural areas most directly affected by FARC violence.
The main reason reporters have suggested for the result was the opinion that the concessions given to FARC were too lenient. Some of the concessions included the terrorist group’s leaders, currently hiding out in Cuba, being permitted to establish a political party many fear will be largely funded by the extensive drug trafficking operation the FARC runs; amnesty bargains for most FARC terrorists; and a guaranteed number of seats for the FARC political party through 2026, for which no other political party may compete.
Two months after the failed vote, in December 2016, the Colombian legislature passed an updated version of the peace accord proposed by President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC, over protests from opposition legislators who say it is unconstitutional to agree to such a deal without a democratic vote — a vote that already took place and should have ended the deal’s prospects.