Joining together from opposite sides of the aisle, Miami Sens. Ileana Garcia and Annette Taddeo led the full Senate to agree Wednesday that armed rebels in Colombia should still be considered a threat.
By voice vote, the Senate adopted a resolution opposing President Joe Biden’s move to take the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) off the United States’ list of foreign terrorist organizations.
Taddeo, a Democrat, was near tears as she recounted her father’s kidnapping at the hands of the armed group.
“This is hard because it’s a fight that I’ve taken on with a President I like very much,” Taddeo said. “But I think it’s important for us to stand up when things are not right. … It’s a very painful thing for many of us in the community.”
Garcia, a Republican, introduced the resolution (SR 1064) voicing the state and Senate’s commitment to a “stable and prosperous” Colombia and condemning of FARC.
“Many of these victims and their families are Floridians and as a matter of fact, one of the victims is here with me today,” she said.
Taddeo took the microphone after Garcia’s introduction: “I can’t say how proud I will be for all of you … to stand up and say … they should not be delisted.”
Conflicts between the Colombian government and FARC are estimated to have resulted in the deaths of 220,000 people. The United States has listed the group as a terrorist organization since 1997, Garcia told the full Senate, calling FARC a “Marxist, Leninist guerilla group.”
“This resolution provides that the Florida Senate will use all means possible, including divestiture, to impede ties, commercial or otherwise, with FARC,” Garcia said.
Colombia signed a peace pact with FARC five years ago, after six decades of upheaval, according to Reuters news service.
During that period, nearly 7 million Colombians were driven from their homes, representing the largest population in the world of what the United Nations designates “internally displaced people.”
Garcia’s item says FARC “has murdered, tortured, and kidnapped innocent Colombians and committed gross violations of human rights”; “opposes democratic institutions and those who have fought for them”; and “has committed and supported terrorism and continues to do so.”
Senate President Wilton Simpson acknowledged the gravity of the moment.
“You standing at the desk of the 37th district, Senator, says a lot,” Simpson said to Taddeo.
The two are often on opposing sides of most issues that arise.
Miami Republican Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin has filed legislation (HM 1383), that also opposes “any effort to change the U.S. State Department’s designation of Cuba and Iran from their current designations as state sponsors of terrorism.”