As a Colombian, I think it is my responsibility to inform my readers what is going in Colombia at the moment because there must be a lot of people that have heard something about it but do not fully understand or simply wish to know more information. Please bear in mind I am not an expert in this field and I would be talking about what I know, have seen and been told by people that are living this situation right now.
-At the end of March the Colombian government announced that there was going to be a tributary reform to accommodate covid related expenses. People started to get worried because at the moment the economy is not booming, lots of people have lost their jobs and entrepreneurs have shut down their offices and activities.
Politicians were asked about the topic as reporters and journalists wanted to know how this new reform would impact Colombian citizens. A great deal of information and knowledge was obtained from those interviews. Things like the Colombian Minister of finance and public credit (Alberto Carrasquilla) not being aware of the prices of the products he wanted to increase the tax on, like eggs. It might sound like an honest mistake but it shows that politicians are hardly affected by their actions, but are rather the poor who would get affected by the tax increase.
It could be said that this was an eye-opener because multiple people started showing their unhappiness on social media, and it was not a minority, which encouraged them to organize protests against the tax reform, the treasury and the corrupt government.
– About 10 days ago in different cities of Colombia people started to protest against the tributary reform and corrupted politicians, the idea behind those protests was to showcase disparity and hope that it would be a tool for change.
I would say at the beginning it was working in a pacific way but then some people saw this as an opportunity to vandalize the cities. “Forcing” the government to intervene and send different police institutions to impose order and control.
So far everything was ideal. Some people wanted to express their opinion and it got violent so the government was to send officials to control the situation. But here is when it gets sinister because that law enforcement that was to control the situation made it even worse because not only they attacked the people who were violent but also they killed innocent citizens that were taking part in the pacific protest.
Also in some cases, the police attacked people that were not part of the protest but rather passing by or looking at what was happening. This was the case in Barranquilla where people wanted to pray and light a candle for those who passed and were attacked by the police.
-Last Sunday the Colombian president announced that the tributary reform inspired by the treasury minister was no longer going to be taking place, but another project had to be developed as the Colombian government is in need of funds. He also said that the treasury minister (Alberto Carrasquilla) had resigned.
So why is there still chaos in Colombia?
-It was great progress to have the president announced this news, as they were some of the goals of the protests, but as hinted above now the issue and the reason why some people are still protesting is that we can not have law enforcement units killing innocent people. Especially because they were told not to use firearms.
If you follow me on social media, mainly on Instagram I have been reposting videos and news about the situation and it is very unfortunate to feel unsafe even with the people that are supposed to protect you.
For this and many other reasons, the Colombian community is congregating and inviting everyone to Aotea Square on Sunday 9th May at 3:30 pm to learn more and light a candle for the situation in Colombia. Please feel free to contact me if this interest you.