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NSC official defends FARC removal from terrorist list to Colombian Americans
The National Security Council's top Latin America official met with Colombian Americans on Monday amid criticism that the U.S. would remove the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) from its list of foreign terrorist organizations.
The rebel group will officially be removed from the list on Tuesday after a 2016 peace accord resulted in FARC's demobilization and 13,000 of its members laying down their weapons, according to NBC News.
"If a guerrilla group through an accord disarms and demobilizes and gets involved politically, that's ultimately what you want to happen and what you want to encourage, and it sends a signal that these processes can produce an outcome that can lead toward peace," Juan Gonzalez, the senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs on the National Security Council, said, per NBC.
"Unfortunately, it's been misrepresented, and it's become part of a political debate, which we should have - based on facts," he added.
Also on Tuesday, the Biden administration will place La Segunda Marquetalia and FARC-EP on the list. Both of those groups were formed by former FARC rebels, according to NBC.
Gonzalez noted that "the information that leaked" was solely about removing FARC from the list, so "the reaction was, as expected, a very negative one."
"This does not forgive anything that the FARC has done over the last 52 years," he added. "It is shifting the tools of the U.S. government to focus on those organizations that are still involved in terrorist activity."
Some Democratic lawmakers, including the mayor of Miami-Dade County, Fla., criticized the move.
The Hill has reached out to the National Security Council for comment.