Boiling Controversy In Florida Over Vice President Biden’s Colombia Policy

Boiling Controversy In Florida Over Vice President Biden’s Colombia Policy

November 25, 2021 0

Foreign terrorist organizations were barely noticed when news broke about a Biden administration plan to delist a Colombian rebel group this week.

However, in Florida, where there are an estimated 150,000 Colombian-American voters, the situation is quite different. As a result of Biden’s policy, some of the state’s most prominent elected officials, strategists, and activists have come out against it.

“This is awful. It is a bad idea. “It’s bad politics,” said Democratic gubernatorial candidate Annette Taddeo, a Florida state senator, and Colombian-American.

Told on Twitter that the news was “outrageous,” Taddeo described how she fled her home country at the age of 17 “because of the Marxist terrorist organization, FARC, a group of militias who kidnapped my father who was a WWII American fighter pilot.”

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In Miami-Dade, the state’s most populous county, stories like Taddeo’s are not uncommon. For Latin American exiles who fled leftist violence or dictatorship in Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, Florida has become a safe haven for them to unite in politics.

As a result of the Colombian government’s decades-long conflict with the FARC guerrilla movement, the group’s reputation as a terrorist organization was solidified. For the first time in five years, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia signed a historic peace agreement. However, there has been a mixed response to the peace agreement, with some Colombian Americans harboring ill feelings toward the FARC and being opposed to the reintegration of former FARC members back into society.

“They were terrorists, murderers,” Taddeo proclaimed.

Crist, a Democrat running for governor in the Democratic primary, expressed his concern about the decision, saying the FARC “caused decades of war and death — they’ve earned their designation.”

Democrats in Miami’s county government have asked the Obama administration to reconsider and “double down to reject the extremist communist agenda that has destroyed nations like Venezuela,” Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.

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A conference call on Wednesday was quickly scheduled to explain the White House’s decision, which had been kept under wraps for days but emerged on Tuesday afternoon when the Wall Street Journal reported on it.

Colombia’s government hadn’t even heard about the State Department’s planned actions when they broke, a senior administration official said.

According to a senior administration official, the State Department’s decision to remove FARC from its list of terrorist organizations does not give the former guerrilla group a free pass. According to an official, the decision to remove the FARC from the list comes after an annual review that includes input from the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies, the US embassy in Colombia, and the State Department.

90 percent of the FARC rebels have demobilized and fulfilled their agreements under the agreement five years after the peace process began, an official noted in his report. An important part of the administration’s strategy is to include new armed groups, such as the Nueva Marquetalia group and the faction led by guerrilla leader Gentil Duarte, that have emerged in Colombia in the wake of the FARC’s dissolution.

There will be no holds barred here. According to a senior administration official, “It’s leading them in the right direction—and that’s the FARC dissidents and their terrorist and criminal activity,”

Some Democrats and experts, on the other hand, believe that voters, particularly those who have an emotional and personal animus against the FARC and are opposed to the peace agreement, will not be able to tell the difference.

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“I’ll be able to explain this to my students. Even though I can have a debate with my colleagues about this, the reality is that local politics does not distinguish between those who were kidnapped or had relatives who were kidnapped, and those who are now sitting in the Colombian Congress with those responsible (former FARC rebels),” said Eduardo Gamarra, who polls Latino voters in the United States and throughout Latin America. “.

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Biden’s decision will be even more difficult to sell because he didn’t consult the Colombian community before making the decision, according to Gamarra.

What are they hoping to gain by doing this?” A professor of Latin American studies at Florida International University in Miami, Gamarra, said, “There’s more of a gain for Colombia than there is for the Democratic Party or the Biden administration.”

Historically, Colombian-Americans have voted Democrat. The Venezuelan and Nicaraguan populations of the United States, however, have begun to move to the right in recent years, finding common cause with Republican-leaning Cuban populations in Florida.

In contrast to Hillary Clinton’s nearly 30-point victory in Miami-Dade County four years prior, many Latino voters in Florida have turned their backs on the Democratic Party due to their dissatisfaction with the party’s handling of the state’s large Latino population. Republicans, on the other hand, have been encouraged by Trump’s success in 2020 and are hoping to build on that support from Latinos in South Florida and across the country in the 2022 midterm elections.

“They’ve seen the results of the survey. Former Republican state representative Juan Zapata, who was the first Colombian American elected to the Florida Legislature, characterized the situation as a “disaster” in a statement.

South Floridians, as well as people across the United States, are aware of this “terrible deal,” according to Zapata. This is not limited to Colombian-Americans, either. When it all began, Fidel Castro was in charge in Havana. In Nicaragua, we have Daniel Ortega. Hugo Chavez took it to Venezuela with him.

Colombian American voters are concentrated in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties according to Zapata. According to University of Florida political science professor Dan Smith, about 65,000 Floridians were born in Colombia.

The Latino voter registration group Mi Vecino’s Sergio Otálora, a former Colombian-American journalist, believes that the community is more supportive of the peace process than public criticism suggests and that political leaders like Taddeo and Levine Cava should not listen to critics who want “to exploit the Marxism-Communism boogeyman.”

Some Colombian-American Democrats, including Otálora, have said that Vice President Biden should visit Miami to promote the new policy.

In my opinion, Joe Biden will be here soon enough. Otálora urged him to clarify his position. He has a point, in my opinion. Look at what happened in Ireland and El Salvador — you’ve got IRAs there and FMLNs there. The peace process is effective.”

Also supporting the decision of the administration are Democrats in Florida as well as that outside of the state who recognize that officials will need to work extra hours in order for this new U.S. policy, aimed at the FARC dissidents, and to help the peace process move forward.

As former Obama administration Latin America adviser Dan Restrepo put it, “it’s hard to unring a bell, but you have to just be relentless in delivering the truth.” Moreover, “the truth here is that they’re updating things in order to reflect the reality.”

As Restrepo put it, the Biden administration should make changes to “bring consequences to the right people” and stop “the rank and file who have laid down their weapons and are reintegrating into society.”

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According to Carolina Castillo, a Democrat who has been active in the party for many years, the “progressive left” of her party has become increasingly supportive of Marxist leaders in Latin America.

In Castillo’s words, “It’s a clear betrayal.” But now we’re handing power to the extreme leftists in Colombia at the worst possible time. We wanted a strong president who would stand up for democracy. More Colombian families will join the Republican side as a result of this.”

Stay tuned for more updates on Market Research Journals!

Jake Jonas
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