Monday 17 May 2021

Colombia’s Protests Against President Duque Explained

The people in the streets are demanding much more than the withdrawal of the tax reform

QCOLOMBIA – Nineteen people have died and hundreds more have been injured in protests in Colombia against President Iván Duque Márquez’s tax bill, aimed at economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and since been withdrawn.

Taxi drivers protest against a tax reform bill launched by President Ivan Duque, in Bogota on May 3, 2021. Juan Barreto/Getty

Although Duque said the objective of the reform that would raise the GDP by 1.4% was to stabilize the country’s economy.

The plan has been criticized for favoring the wealthy and placing more strain on the working and middle classes.

- Advertisement -

Many are frustrated by new or expanded taxes on citizens and business owners and the elimination of many tax exemptions, such as those on certain sales of everyday goods.

A man looks at a police station burned down during the protests against what demonstrators say was police brutality exerted in recent protests against President Ivan Duque’s government’s tax reform in Cali. [Juan Bautista/Reuters]

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in protest in Colombia’s major cities – Botoga, Medellin, and Cali, but also across the country.

The protests that began last Wednesday after a national strike drew larger crowds than expected. By Monday, on day six of the violence, at least 18 civilians and one police officer had been killed, according to the office of Colombia’s human rights ombudsman.

Some NGOs have accused the police of firing at civilians, with most of the violence occurring in Colombia’s third-largest, Cali, where at least four deaths were recorded.

- Advertisement -

The police officer was killed in Soacha, a town on the edge of the capital Bogota.

Demonstrators take part in a protest against the tax reform of President Ivan Duque’s government in Bogota. [Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters]

Duque has criticized the protesters for demonstrating during Colombia’s second wave of COVID-19.

Colombia has accumulated 2,919,805 cases and 75,627 deaths associated with covid-19. and On Tuesday, the country reported 14,551 new cases and 463 deaths, according to data from the Coronavirus Colombia government website.

More than 500 police officers have been injured during the protests, according to the Policia Nacional (National Police), who also identified thousands of people who have not been complying with COVID public health measures, by not wearing masks for example.

Demonstrations resumed on Monday in the capital, Bogota, and other cities including Medellin and Cali despite the announcement the government withdrew the tax reform proposal. [Juan Bautista/Reuters]

Alberto Carrasquilla, the now-former finance minister and author of the controversial tax reform, resigned on Monday evening after the day meeting with the president.

The Colombian peso exchange fell the most among the major currencies following the move.

- Advertisement -

In a bid to end the protests and violence, Duque announced the withdrawal of the tax reform from the legislative agenda in the midst of debate by lawmakers.

In his announcement, the president said his government would present a new draft bill soon.

In his address to the nation Sunday, Duque urged congress to quickly put together a new plan “and thus avoid financial uncertainty.” However, Duque’s political party has less than 20% of the seats in Congress.

ars are seen backed up on a road during a protest against the tax reform by President Ivan Duque’s government in Zipaquira, Colombia. Many highways were closed.

“The reform is not a whim. The reform is a must,” he said.

Defense Minister Diego Molano blamed the violence on armed militia groups, mainly on Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) dissidents and members of the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN).

The FARC signed a peace deal with the government in 2016 ending decades of conflict, leaving the ELN as the last recognized guerrilla group in the country.

Colombia, unlike many other Latin American countries, has a relatively stable economy and hasn’t defaulted on its debt since the 1930s.

The UN, United States, European Union and rights groups expressed concern Tuesday after reports of the disproportionate use of force against protesters, calling for calm and respect for human rights.

Soldiers patrol the streets in Cali, Colombia after anti-government demonstrations, sparking fears of militarization Photo: AFP / Daniel MUNOZ

In Bogota and Medellin, opposition mayors declined military help, yet soldiers were seen patrolling the capital by presidential order.

In such a volatile situation, adding soldiers to the mix is “a terrible risk,” said Ariel Avila, the deputy director of Colombia’s Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation.

International security expert Florent Frasson-Quenoz of the Javeriana University said Colombia was experiencing a return to the “heavy-handed” way of governing of the 2000s, “when the security situation was at its most difficult”.

May Day demonstration in Cali, Colombia (CaliesCaliCOL, Twitter)

New demonstrations have been called for Wednesday as the public mood seems to have turned against those in power.

“The people in the streets are demanding much more than the withdrawal of the tax reform,” said the National Strike Committee organizing the protests.

This is an opportunity, said Eduardo Bechara, a professor of public policy at Colombia’s Externado University., for “the government and other political, social and economic sectors to converge around the need to rethink security.”

Article originally appeared on Q Colombia and is republished here with permission.

- Advertisement -

FACT CHECK:
We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

Q24N
Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

Related Articles

Colombia surpasses 80,000 COVID-19 deaths; ICU’s nearly full

QCOLOMBIA – Confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in Colombia passed 80,000 on...

Why Colombian protesters are taking to the streets

QCOLOMBIA – For the past two weeks, mass protests that started...

MOST READ

Natalia Carvajal tells of her arrest at San Jose airport with false proof of covid-19

Q MAGAZINE - he former Miss Costa Rica and television personality, Natalia Carvajal, broke the silence of her arrest several weeks ago at the...

These are the new sanitary measures that will be applied in May

QCOSTARICA - At the press conference from Casa Presidencial that started more than 15 minutes this afternoon, the government announced new sanitary measures that...

Caja to move ‘non-covid’ patients to private hospitals

QCOSTARICA - Caja patients with diseases other than covid-19 will be transferred to private hospitals, to make room for covid patients, through the "Urgent...

Colombia surpasses 80,000 COVID-19 deaths; ICU’s nearly full

QCOLOMBIA – Confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in Colombia passed 80,000 on Friday, May 14, with intensive care units almost full in the biggest cities,...

Top 3 Japanese-Inspired Online Slots

Slots are the most popular category in any casino. Gambling websites feature hundreds of these games, simplistic and elaborate. Reel symbols range from cherries...

Rodolfo Méndez will complete the Circunvalación, a work that he started in 1978

QCOSTARICA - It's been almost 43 years since the Circunvalación (Ruta 39) project, to provide the capital with a peripheral ring road, was started,...

San José is the queen province of street brawls

QCOSTARICA - Frequently the 911 emergency services receive calls reporting street brawls, "pleitos" in Spanish, and most are made from San José. And many...

Costa Rica will buy two million more doses to accelerate vaccination

QCOSTARICA - The President of the Comision Nacional de Emergencias (CNE), Alexander Solis, announced this Monday afternoon that Costa Rica is purchasing an additional...

Costa Rica’s contagion rate continues to decline, experts once again warn of a ‘false ilusion’

QCOSTARICA - The contagion rate of covid-19 in Costa Rica fell for the second consecutive week and registers the lowest values ​​of the last...

WANT TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST!

Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Article originally appeared on Q Colombia and is republished here with permission.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.