Unrest or new civil rights movement? Thousands of Colombians protesting. What's going on?
"Colombia es un Estado social de derecho, organizado en forma de República unitaria, descentralizada, con autonomía de sus entidades territoriales, democrática, participativa y pluralista, fundada en el respeto de la dignidad humana, en el trabajo y la solidaridad de las personas que la integran y en la prevalencia del interés general." - Articulo I. Constitucion politica de Colombia.
"Colombia is a democratic state, organized as a united Republic. It is decentralized, with semi-autonomous regions. Democratic, involved, and pluralist. Founded on the principles of mutual respect, human dignity, hard work, and interest of the sovereign people of which country they live in." - Article I, Constitution of Colombia.
April 29th, 2021.
The biggest unions of Colombia called on people to protest tax reform proposals that would increase taxes on individuals and businesses. There are two major cities in which the protesting has gotten violent, thus sparked worldwide media attention. In Bogota, the capital of Colombia. And Cali, the capital of “Valle del Cauca.” Department of Colombia. “In Bogota, 31 police and civilians were injured,” Reuters reported. Union parties called on another protest on May 19th, 2021. Is it a matter of pluralism? A doctrine of multiplicity. Multiple people and entities share political power. An imbalance in the system can trigger protesting to rescale the balance of power between political groups.
May 3rd, 2021.
Colombian president, Ivan Manuel Duque, withdrew the tax reform proposal. Duque still urges the necessity of the reform. The bill is necessary for Colombia’s economy, which has declined since the coronavirus pandemic. A possibility would be the tax reform bill without an increase in taxes on individuals, no increase in sales tax on utilities and food. There is a significant concern by Colombia’s central bank over the negative impact on the economy if the government takes no action. The government insists the bill is necessary for fiscal stability, maintaining the country’s credit rating, and funding social programs. Colombia’s GDP dropped drastically because of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
May 6th, 2021.
Protests continue over now canceled tax reform. Demands by protestors have increased to include government action on poverty, police violence, and inequalities in health and education. Protest against the tax reform worked, pressuring the government even further for more requests strategically. In other words, the demonstrations explore the concept of freedom of speech and the government's ability to meet the demands from the leaders of unions and political groups.
May 10th, 2021.
“Somos de el mismo pueblo." We are all from the same place. Young people and police in Medellin, Colombia, perform a symbolic act of reconciliation. Amid violent moments and encounters, there are cases of humanity and unity. A reminder that ultimately they are all fighting for a better country that offers a better tomorrow.
May 11th, 2021.
A meeting between Colombia’s protest leaders and president Duque did not reach an accord. Protest leaders believe that the government has not taken enough action to meet the demands of the protestors. The government has stated that they seek to end protesting quickly as possible. Wishing to explore and further discuss the requests for an accord. However, the meeting ended sourly, which could further destabilize the situation leading to continued protesting.
Videos taken with phone by bystanders at different times during the tax reform protesting.