International

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Colombian Rebels Stay on Terror List Despite Chavez

January 17, 2008 03:15 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appeals to the United States, Colombia and various European nations to stop labeling FARC a terrorist organization. The idea is rejected, but one commentator wonders whether the change could aid negotiations.

30-Second Summary

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The U.S. government will not take the leftist rebel group FARC off its list of terrorist organizations, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters on Jan. 14, 2008.

McCromack said that the group has, through its actions, earned its place on the terror list, and should unconditionally free each of the estimated 700 hostages it is currently holding captive.

These statements came three days after Chavez called on Colombia, the United States and a number of European nations to stop referring to the leftist rebels as terrorists. He argued that they should instead be recognized as legitimate "belligerents."

According to West's Encyclopedia of American Law, recognizing a group as a belligerent guarantees it protection under international law. “The belligerents stand on a par with the parent state in the conduct and settlement of the conflict,” reads the definition.
On Jan. 13, Chavez said on his weekly television show that recognizing the rebels is the only “path to peace.”

The next day, six tourists were kidnapped by what appears to be an arm of FARC, prompting BBC correspondents to describe the group's chances of throwing off their terrorist appellation as "very slim."

However, Washington-based attorney Paul Wolf argues that the group meets many of the criteria for designation as a belligerent, and that the change could lead to peaceful negotiations with the Uribe administration.

Headline Link: ‘U.S. Rejects Chavez Call to Drop Colombian Rebels From Terror Lists’

Background: FARC kidnappings

FARC kidnaps new hostages
Chavez defends rebels
Colombia’s anger
Hostages released after years in captivity

Opinion & Analysis: ‘FARC Not a Terrorist Group’

Reference Material: The meaning of ‘terrorist’ vs. ‘belligerent’

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