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The Colombia week for Joe Garcia, David Rivera

In case the importance of the Colombian-American vote -- and the non-Cuban Hispanic vote in general -- in the congressional race between Democrat Joe Garcia and Republican David Rivera had escaped our notice, both candidates released statements Thursday over the reported death of a leader of a Colombian leftist rebel group.

Colombian authorities said a military attack killed Victor Julio Suarez Rojas -- aka Julio Briceño, aka Luis Suarez, best known as "el Mono Jojoy" -- a leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

This prompted reaction from the two candidates vying to replace GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart in an increasingly diverse district -- though the Cuban-American vote remains strong -- that includes the Hammocks, a Kendall neighborhood in Miami-Dade considered to have one of the most dense population of Colombians outside that country.

In separate statements written in Spanish, Rivera and Garcia congratulated Colombia for Suarez's death and reiterated their support of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement stalled in the U.S. Congress.

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