Florida’s Republican-led Legislature on Friday rebuked President Joe Biden for going soft of leftist terrorists in Colombia.
Back in November, the Biden administration deleted the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, from the State Department’s roster of designated foreign terrorist organizations.
FARC had been on America’s list of terrorist groups since 1997. The administration claimed the move was supporting ongoing peace talks in Colombia between the government and former rebels, according to a Washington Post report at the time.
The administration also defended its policy since FARC, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “no longer exists as a unified organization that engages in terrorism or terrorist activity or has the capability or intent to do so.”
Yet Blinken at the time did designate as terrorists two spin-off FARC groups that continue the old ways. In a statement, Colombian President Iván Duque said he understood why the Biden administration acted as it did, but added “we would have preferred another decision.”
Biden’s move was denounced in Florida by U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, as well as Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Colombia has endured decades of pain and suffering because of the vicious terrorist attacks spearheaded by the FARC,” Rubio said at the time. “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.”
And that’s why the Florida Legislature issued its rebuke.
That was led in the House by Republican state Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin of Miami.
The website Florida Politics reported that Barquin-Fernandez’s wife is Colombian and that his friend’s brother was kidnapped and murdered by FARC.
Fernandez-Barquin sponsored what’s known as a “memorial,” which is a notice that does not carry the weight of law. In his memorial, Fernandez-Barquin recalled America’s 200-year relationship with Colombia, and noted that with U.S. help Colombia has evolved from “a volatile and near-failed state in 2001 into a rich democracy with a growing free market in 2021.”
The memorial declares the House’s “firm commitment to Colombia, the United States’ strongest ally in Latin America, and urges Congress to oppose the Biden Administration’s removal of FARC from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.” The document also “urges Congress to use all means possible, including divestiture, to impede ties, commercial or otherwise, with FARC.”
The Florida Senate has passed a similar measure, which was backed by Democrats. Democratic Sen. Annette Taddeo, who is running for governor, shared how her father was kidnapped by FARC.
“For those of you who don’t know, they are a Marxist, terrorist group sponsored and assisted by narco-traffickers and countries that sponsor terrorism like Cuba and Venezuela,” Fernandez-Barquin said during a floor speech, according to Florida Politics.
“FARC is also responsible for the world’s longest civil war at 57 years, and they are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.”
In an interview afterward, he added of FARC, “They are still a threat to our strongest ally in Latin America — Colombia — and a threat to the stability in the region.”