The US government on Tuesday notified Congress of its intention to remove the former rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) from its blacklist of foreign terrorist organizations, according to a parliamentary source.
This decision comes on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the peace accords signed between the Farc and then Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. After negotiations in Cuba, these agreements were signed on November 24, 2016, ending a civil war dating back to the 1960s and causing at least 220,000 deaths.
The most powerful ex-guerrilla in Latin America
“The peace process and the signing of the peace agreement five years ago were a real turning point for the long Colombian conflict”, argued the spokesman for American diplomacy, Ned Price, stressing that he had “put an end to five decades of conflict” and “put Colombia on the path of a just and lasting peace”.
Considered for a long time as the most powerful guerrilla in Latin America with 13,000 combatants and at the origin of a number of kidnappings – such as that of Ingrid Betancourt -, the Farc have effectively surrendered since the signing of the treaty. Having become a political party (Comunes), the former rebellion is now a negligible political force.
“We have done everything to preserve the peace process, at every stage,” he added. “We remain fully committed to working with our Colombian partners on its implementation. The Farc were since 1997 on the American blacklist, which allows for a series of financial and diplomatic sanctions against certain groups and their members.
Despite the demobilization of the FARCs, peace nevertheless remains fragile in a country still subject to violence, and divided. Between January and August, nearly 57,100 people had to flee their homes in the forced displacement of populations, according to a report byOCHA, due to violence and threats from illegal armed groups. In addition, almost half of the investments promised by the peace process have still not been made.