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Here’s Why Colombia Just Denied A US Extradition Request For First Time

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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Peace talks between Colombia and armed rebels known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are coming to an end in March, and the Colombian government is apparently willing to do whatever it takes to reach a deal.

As a gesture of goodwill to FARC, Colombia’s president signed an executive order denying extradition to the United States of one of its members wanted for drug trafficking in New York. Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos apparently signed the order in October, but wanted to announce the signing now to publicly demonstrate his commitment to the peace talks.

Colombia and FARC rebels have been at war for 50 years, which is the longest-continuous war in the Western Hemisphere. Peace talks have been going on for three years in Havana, Cuba, and are scheduled to end in March, 2016.

The announcement of the denial of the extradition request surprised many, because the United States and Colombia have worked together for years on the War on Drugs. But the clock is running out on the peace talks, and President Santos may no longer feel indebted to President Obama, since his term is ending.

A great deal of progress has been made in the past three years in the peace talks, especially regarding drug and agricultural policies, which is notable considering Colombia is the world’s second largest producer of cocaine.

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