More than five years after the signing of Colombia’s peace agreement, the US government has finally declassified the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as a terrorist organisation.
Under the terms of the 2016 agreement with the then-government of Juan Manuel Santos, the FARC reformed as a political party, known today as Comunes, and entered the national congress. Despite the party’s participation in electoral politics for the last four years, it remained on the US blacklist. This prevented any US funding for the peace process going towards reincorporation projects involving more than 13,000 former FARC combatants who are transitioning to civilian life.
The announcement was made in the same week as Colombia marked the fifth anniversary of the agreement’s signing. A statement signed by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the FARC ‘no longer exists as a unified organization that engages in terrorism or terrorist activity or has the capability or intent to do so.’
Blinken went on to say that delisting the FARC ‘will facilitate the ability of the United States to better support implementation of the 2016 accord, including by working with demobilized combatants.’
Despite their commitment to the peace process, former FARC combatants have faced appalling levels of violence since voluntarily putting down their weapons. Close to 300 have been murdered since the agreement was signed, while others have suffered threats and forms of legal attacks. The United Nations Verification Mission, which monitors the agreement’s implementation, has repeatedly recommended enhanced security measures for former combatants.