Single Clip View (View all clips)

Data is an audio file at this location.

[Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida):] We've got to go to our colleagues every year and justify the amount of money that we are putting towards this effort, and do so now in an environment where you see an uptick in cocaine production and coca cultivation. And so, I could see where my colleagues would say to us, "Well, why are we spending more money if it's getting worse, not better?" And if it implicates the peace deal as a result, it endangers it. So that's the first thing.

The second thing it touches upon is the standing of the FARC. We still designate them, and rightfully so, as a terrorist group. There's the example—you know, I ran out of time to ask our government witnesses—but on the 13th of February of 2003 there were four Americans, they were Department of Defense contractors, they were on a counternarcotics flight mission, they were shot down by the FARC. The pilot, who was a retired member of the U.S. Army's Delta Force, was executed on the spot. There were three Floridians who were captured, they were held captive, they were tortured for over five and a half years until they were rescued by the Colombian army. And so as we talk about the future of the Colombian peace accord, the demobilization of the FARC for the good of the Colombian people, we also have a group of Americans, all of whom were former U.S. military and their families, who were subjected to atrocities and crimes at the hands of the FARC. And to see people any way associated with this wearing a suit and coming up to Washington as elected representatives of Colombia is a very difficult thing for anybody to tolerate here, not to mention a very difficult thing to justify in terms of our relationship and our funding.

The other concern is that there are people we worked with hand in hand in this effort who could now potentially find themselves standing trial before a FARC kangaroo court. Some of them have been granted immunity and the like. So these things begin to implicate—or, begin to impact our ability to seek the funding.

And so I've always pursued this not through the lens of what it is the Colombian people decide, they're going to have elections, unlike in Venezuela they're legitimate. But how do we come back here and justify how that program is outlined and—I think I walked in but the ranking member [Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey] was talking about conditionality. There's at least, for our money, it's got to be clear our money cannot be used to reward the FARC. Shouldn't even be used to pay compensation for victims. The FARC should be paying that and the like. And also, obviously, what's the point of getting rid of the FARC if the territory they once held and the industry they once ran has simply been replaced by another group, be it dissident members of the FARC, the ELN, the BACRIM, the Gulf Clan or the like?
Assessing the Colombia Peace Process: The Way Forward in U.S.-Colombia Relations (Washington: U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, August 2, 2017) <https://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/assessing-the-colombia-peace-process-the-way-forward-in-us-colombia-relations_080217>.