Colombia takes to the streets en masse against Duque and the tax reform
Colombians have been protesting in the streets for almost a week due to the Tax Reform bill. Despite President Iván Duque's retraction, the strike continues.
This weekend, Colombian President Iván Duque withdrew his criticized tax reform bill. It was a project that was intended to increase state revenue to address the needs of the lower classes affected by the health crisis. However, the attempt to increase the VAT to 19% for basic products and services such as electricity or gas generated enormous discontent among citizens.
Colombians were forced to go out in protest in the midst of the health crisis since Wednesday, April 28, declaring a general strike in the country.
"There are not going to be VAT increases on goods and services, nor are there going to change the rules of the game in the country," Duque said on Sunday while announcing the withdrawal of the bill.
The president promised to modify the reform by "consensus" and assured that the taxes will not reach the lowest incomes, which are the ones that were supposed to benefit from the social subsidies that were to come out of the 5.2 billion euros of extra revenue.
Over the weekend, the strike turned into a violent repression with police and military intervention throughout the country, leaving at least 19 dead and more than 800 injured.
Several organizations and citizens in social networks have been denouncing murders, arbitrary detentions and other human rights violations in a particularly harsh police repression in Cali.
Tension continues in the country with protests by truck drivers, cab drivers, the indigenous minga and other civil society groups, reaffirming their discontent with the Colombian government. I
n addition to the tax reform project, there is the national rejection of a health reform, the demand for compliance with the 2016 peace agreement, the rejection of militarization policies and they maintain their position against fracking and fumigations with glyphosate, which the Government seeks to resume.
So far, in addition to withdrawing the tax reform bill, there has been the resignation of the Minister of Finance, Alberto Carrasquilla, promoter of the criticized bill and one of the protesters' demands. But the protests are not about to end.
The National Strike Committee, which organized the strike on April 28, has called for new demonstrations for next Wednesday.