The Biden administration's plan to a remove a Colombian rebel group from a list of foreign terrorist organizations has drawn outrage from Florida politicians and activists, Politico reported.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the administration will remove the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) from the list to show support for a fragile peace agreement with the guerrillas in Colombia.
Florida state Sen. Annette Taddeo, one of an estimated 150,000 Colombian-American voters, quickly took to Twitter to express her disgust with the news.
"When I was 17 years old I was forced to flee Colombia, the only country I ever knew, because of the Marxist terrorist organization, FARC, a group of militias who kidnapped my father who was a WWII American fighter pilot," tweeted Taddeo, a Democrat running for governor.
"This news is outrageous, and I just hung up with the State department to let them know just how outrageous it is," Taddeo added.
Miami-Dade County, the state's largest county, is home to a large number of Latinos, many of whom fled leftist violence or dictatorships in Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., who also is running in the Democratic primary to reclaim the governor’s office he held previously, sounded as though he disagreed with the administration’s decision.
"[FARC] caused decades of war and death — they’ve earned their designation," Crist told Politico.
Democrat Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told Politico the administration should reconsider and "double down to reject the extremist communist agenda that destroyed nations like Venezuela."
The White House, which had planned to wait to announce the FARC decision, held a conference call Wednesday to explain the move, Politico reported.
Although State Department officials had notified Congress of the plans, Politico said, a senior administration official said the Colombian government hadn’t been notified before The Wall Street Journal report.
The Politico source said the administration is doing the correct thing by dropping FARC — 90% of whose Marxist rebels have demobilized — and adding to the list new armed groups formed by former FARC rebels and dissident groups.
Florida voters, however, might not see it that way.
"I can explain this to my students. I can have this debate among my colleagues, but local politics isn’t making that distinction, especially because there are people in this community who were either kidnapped or had relatives who were kidnapped — while some of the people responsible [former FARC rebels] are now sitting in the Colombian Congress," Florida International University professor Eduardo Gamarra told Politico.
He added, "I don’t know what [the administration gains] by doing this. There’s more of a gain for Colombia than there is for the Democratic Party or the Biden administration."
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