The European Union has removed the FARC – a rebel group turned political party – from its list of terrorist organizations. It’s another step toward cementing peace in Colombia.
CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports from Bogota.
It’s been months since the former FARC insurgents of Colombia became a political party and now the European Union has removed it from its global list of terrorist organizations. The decision was made in a unanimous vote by EU foreign ministers.
The EU labeled the insurgent group a terrorist organization in 2002. This meant all their assets were frozen and European countries could not provide funding to Colombia that could end up in FARC’s hands.
With the lifting of sanctions, FARC can now access financial resources in Europe.
“If they look to have electoral campaigns, they will be able to move their personal accounts – that might exist – or receive local and international contributions to their political organization,” Orlando Jacome said, who’s an analyst at Fenix Valor.
At the start of November, FARC announced its leader Rodrigo Londono, better known by his alias Timochenko, will run as a candidate in the 2018 presidential elections. Being taken off the terror list was critical for Londono and other FARC candidates.
“If a FARC member were still on the list, they could be elected officially but they could not leave the country,” former Colombian Minister of Defense Camilo Ospina said. “If they left Colombia they would be on a red list of Interpol automatically and would be arrested in any part of the world.”
But FARC is still considered a terrorist organization by several nations including Peru, the United States, Canada and New Zealand.
“Their problem with the United States was the issue of narcotrafficking and that might be overcome with peace,” Ospina said. “The pressure would move on to FARC dissidents – members who did not demobilize.”
FARC responded to the EU’s decision on Twitter, saying “We have leapt into politics without arms. The EU’s decision is consistent and logical.”