US senator and presidential hopeful Marco Rubio has contended the possible repatriation of rebel group FARC‘s unofficial foreign minister, “Simon Trinidad,” who the guerrillas want present at ongoing peace talks.
The Florida Republican released a statement in Tuesday, reiterating his opposition to the release of the rebel who is serving 60 years in a US prison for belonging to the group that kidnapped three military contractors in 2002.
A day ahead of a Senate debate on Colombia’s peace talks, Rubio argued that US president Barack Obama is using the release of prisoners as a “tool of diplomacy.” The US government has so far denied considering the expatriation of the senior FARC member.
However, fellow-Republican Senator John McCain recently spoke out in favor of the possibility.
Rubio stated that the Senate “recognizes this type of action would send a negative message to terrorists groups and undermines the United States judicial system.”
Following several failed trials over the rebel’s alleged involvement in drug trafficking and terrorism, alias ‘Simon Trinidad’ was charged with the kidnappings and sentenced to 60 years in prison in 2007.
Due to his political acumen, the FARC have requested the presence of the Harvard educated guerrilla many times, however this has not been granted by the Obama Administration.
“Because of the qualities Simon Trinidad has, because of his sensitivity to our reality of inequality, misery and lack of democracy that has plunged our people into an unending conflict, and for his experiences in Caguan, Simon Trinidad has to be in Havana” declared “Jesus Santrich,” a FARC negotiator in the Havana peace talks in April.
Despite his imprisonment in the US, the FARC has formally designated Trinidad a member of the negotiating team in the peace talks between the Colombian government and rebel group.
Talks between Colombia’s government and the country’s largest and longest-living rebel group began in 2012 and have since produced partial agreements on rural reform, the guerrillas’ abandoning of drug trafficking activities and the FARC’s integration to Colombian political life.
The talks entered a crisis in May when the rebel group suspended their five month unilateral ceasefire and resumed attacks on military units and infrastructure. The two negotiating teams are still talking about the two remaining points on the peace talks agenda; Victims and End of Violence.