Colombians from various cities rose up in protests against a tax reform that sought to generate taxes on the country’s middle class.
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Colombia has become a viral issue due to several days of protests against the tax reform of its president Iván Duque, which caused more than 20 deaths. We briefly explain what is happening in the South American nation:
Why are Colombians protesting?
Colombians from various cities, specifically the southwestern Cali, rose in protests since April 28, 2021 after President Iván Duque sent on the 15th of the same month to the Congress of that country a tax reform that sought to generate taxes in the class the country’s media, according toTelevisa Noticias .
The government decreed a curfew and ordered the military to disperse the protesters, but this prompted a work stoppage and more protests.
For this Wednesday, marches are planned in the midst of the national strike to ask for a basic income, the withdrawal of a proposal to reform health care and the dissolution of the Mobile Police Anti-riot Squad (ESMAD).
What did Duque’s tax reform propose?
The proposed Sustainable Social Transformation Reform The Colombian president broadly sought to raise taxes to raise revenue for the state by about $ 6.3 billion .
In this way, Milenio reports that by 2022, by 2022, those who earn more than 2.4 million pesos a month (about 656 dollars, just over 13 thousand Mexican pesos) would declare income tax. Then this measure would be extended in 2023 to those who received a salary of more than 470 dollars, that is, 9,520 Mexican pesos. This unleashed social discontent since the monthly minimum wage is $ 248 (around 5,000 pesos).
It also increased the surcharges on gasoline and diesel – something that would impact the entire chain of production of goods and services – and created a national tax on single-use plastics.
Duque withdraws the tax reform
Discontent sparked widespread protests, especially on May 1 (International Workers’ Day), in areas such as Bogotá, Medellín, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga and Manizales. Duque withdrew the bill from Congress, but the demonstrations have continued to highlight inequality and unemployment in Colombia.
Duque asked Congress to create a new tax reform bill to reactivate the economy of the country that has been hit hard by the SARSCov2 pandemic. He insisted that another fiscal project is necessary to maintain social assistance programs, but asserted that the new proposal should include voices from business leaders, political parties and civil society.
Likewise, Colombia’s Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla resigned on Monday. “My continuity in government would make it difficult to quickly and efficiently build the necessary consensus,” Carrasquilla said in a statement.
The protesters also protested a poor implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine program saying that the goals set by the government have not been reached.
The atmosphere in Colombia has become rarefied due to complaints against police brutality that have spread on social networks in Latin America. The New York Times speaks of at least 19 deceased and several missing persons.
The UN and the European Union on Tuesday called for calm and warned of excessive use of force in the protests, meanwhile the president of Colombia announced Tuesday that his government is ready for a national dialogue.
Information constantly updated …