The U.S. Must Prioritize Colombian Security in 2022
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
January 11, 2022
Colombia has started the new year with a concerning security situation––one that has been enabled by President Biden’s dismal approach to Latin America during his first year in office...
On January 3, conflict broke out between paramilitary groups in Colombia’s Arauca province. Troops from the National Liberation Army (ELN), a left-wing Foreign Terrorist Organization, fought with dissidents from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). This is the first clash between the ELN and FARC-linked forces since 2010, and it brings back bad memories of horrific drug trade-related violence.
The reemergence of armed conflict near Colombia’s border with Venezuela is a clear indication of how the Maduro regime and left-wing rebel groups continue to sow instability in the region…
In exchange for kickbacks on cocaine sales, the Venezuelan narco-regime allows these groups to carry out their illegal, lucrative acts. Colombia’s military estimates that almost 2,000 rebels and criminals from a variety of organizations are operating inside Venezuelan territory.
Colombia is America’s strongest democratic ally in the Western Hemisphere. For the sake of our allies in Latin America, and for our own national interest, the Biden Administration should make Colombia’s security a high priority. This is especially important given Colombia’s presidential elections begin in less than five months. I will be writing a letter to President Biden urging for a stronger U.S. posture as events in Arauca and Norte de Santander threaten sources of stability, development, and progress in the region.
Sadly, the Biden Administration is actively contributing to instability in our hemisphere, even as China expands its power into our backyard. The most egregious instance of this was the November 2021 decision to remove the FARC from the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
This misguided policy change, taken against the wishes of the Colombian government, gave a false air of legitimacy to a band of drug-dealing extremists, some of whom have now taken up arms again…
Further instability in the Western Hemisphere will lead to more drugs, illegal immigration, and chaos making their way into the U.S. The Biden Administration cannot allow that to happen.