US removes terror designation for Colombia group
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States has dropped the terrorist designation for the far-right United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, which had been in effect since 2001.
The group was an umbrella for numerous paramilitary organizations that agreed to dismantle under a peace deal with former president Alvaro Uribe’s 2002-2010 government. Hundreds of paramilitaries received lenient sentences under the so-called “Justice and Peace” law.
In a memo published this week in the Federal Registry, Secretary of State John Kerry said the designation was being revoked because the circumstances that warranted the terror tag have changed.
The umbrella organization was formed in 1997, and was blamed for hundreds of violent acts, including killings, disappearances, kidnappings and forced recruitment.
Since then, most of its leaders have died or have been imprisoned in the United States.