The reason for social unrest in Colombia

By: Hayat Osman

Image taken from: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/03 /world/americas/colombia-protest-de aths.html

The demonstrations in Colombia began after the President, Iván Duque, announced a pandemic related tax reform on April 28, 2021. The reason behind the reform was because the government needed to raise
about $6.85 billion to fix the economic imbalance of the country. People quickly took to the streets to voice their outrage to the government. Unions and politicians were angry about the proposal.

Although the protests held in Colombia have only been ongoing for about 3 weeks, according to Colombia’s human rights officials, at least 42 people have died. Thousands have been injured, and many are believed to be missing, as increased violence and unrest spreads across the nation.

Unions who organized the protests, said the tax reform would disproportionately affect the middle class and poorest citizens, who have already been struggling due to the pandemic. Several protests, and a strike led by different organizations, were successful. After 4 days of protesting in large cities, the president decided to cancel the tax plan, and seek a new plan through a consensus.

According to NBCNews.com, researchers have pointed out that the tax reform was a catalyst for continued social unrest. Even though President Iván has withdrawn the tax plan, demonstrations continue being fueled by a mix of undelivered promises, inequality, violence, the mismanagement of the pandemic, and excessive force used by police. As violence increases, organizations are trying to negotiate terms with the government.

During the past few weeks, multiple videos of police abusing their authority over citizens have surfaced on social media. Both the UN, and European Union, have warned about the excessive use of force by the police. Despite the dangers, many protesters continue to take to the streets because of their disagreement with government policies.

The injustices that police have inflicted these past few weeks upon protesters in Colombia is unlawful. Protesters have asked for international attention. Let’s take the time to listen to the concerns of Colombians, and help them get the justice they deserve. Michel Adolfo Torres Carmona, a protester from Cali, Colombia has said, “There are many missing people. But we must continue the fight. The world must know what they are doing to us.”

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