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Obama Should Apply Pressure Over FARC

It's time to let Venezuela know their days as a sponsor of terrorism are numbered.

10:00 AM, Mar 19, 2011 • By PATRICK CHRISTY
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The president should take advantage of this rare opportunity to discuss Venezuela’s continued support of the FARC. The challenge proved too much for former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. In his eight years in office, the president showed little (if any) interest in pressing Mr. Chavez on the FARC at the risk of harming Brazil’s increasingly lucrative economic relationship with Venezuela. With a new leader comes a new opportunity. President Rousseff has warmed to President Obama and Washington, and as Latin America’s largest economy, Brazil holds tremendous clout in the region. Next month’s visit can set the foundation for greater regional leadership by both Brazil and the United States. 

In 2009, The Washington Post asked a simple question: “Will there be any consequence for Venezuela's material support for Colombian insurgents?” Sixteen months later, the answer is no. Chavez continues to harbor this terrorist group while the United States and others happily buy his oil. It is time for the United States and the region to send a signal that such behavior is not acceptable. 

Patrick Christy is a policy analyst at the Foreign Policy Initiative.

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