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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2001 > September

Designation of the AUC As a Foreign Terrorist Organization

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
September 10, 2001

I have decided to designate the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, commonly known as the AUC, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under U.S. law. This designation, published today in the Federal Register, makes it illegal for persons in the United States or subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide material support to the AUC; requires U.S. financial institutions to block assets held by the AUC; and enables us to deny visas to representatives of the group. I made this decision in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury after an exhaustive review of the AUCís violent activities over the past two years.

The AUC has carried out numerous acts of terrorism, including the massacre of hundreds of civilians, the forced displacement of entire villages, and the kidnapping of political figures to force recognition of AUC demands. Last year, AUC members reportedly committed at least 75 massacres that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians. Many of these massacres were designed to terrorize and intimidate local populations so the AUC could gain control of those areas. The AUC has also committed hundreds of kidnappings, including the abduction of seven Colombian congressional representatives in November of last year.

The AUC now joins 30 other groups, which include two other Colombian groups, the FARC and the ELN, on the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations designated under U.S. law. Beyond the legal ramifications of this decision, I hope this will leave no doubt that the United States considers terrorism to be unacceptable, regardless of the political or ideological purpose. Tomorrow, the United States will join the other states in this hemisphere in pledging our full support for democracy in this hemisphere. We also stand with the Government of Colombia against the threats to its democracy from these terrorist groups.


Released on September 10, 2001

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