Colombia has completed a month of massive anti-government protests, in which it is being the largest social outbreak in its recent history, the so-called national strike. Demonstrations, national strikes, capitals standing, citizens’ voices calling for changes that have been splattered with blood by police violence and specific acts of vandalism. At least 44 civilians have died, there are more than 2,000 injured and 129 missing.
Week after week, with the coronavirus pandemic as a backdrop, these massive marches have traveled the streets of the main cities of the country, even in rural areas. They began by asking for something very specific: the withdrawal of the controversial tax reform promoted by the government of conservative Iván Duque, which placed on the shoulders of the middle class the need to scratch funds (73% of the increase would be applied to citizens, not to companies, and a 19% VAT was proposed on essential expenses such as water, electricity or gas). All, to raise about 5,170 million euros. The president had to give in.
Even with the resignation of the minister of the branch – it is not the only one, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has also left – and the withdrawal of the rule, the protests did not end there. The protesters – many young people, but also groups of teachers, health workers, indigenous people, retirees, feminists, environmentalists, freelancers … – later called for the withdrawal of the health reform, which did not even clarify with what funds the system would be sustained and opened the door to a semi-privatization, among other things. Congress, under popular pressure, ended up rejecting it.
But why stop if there is so much to accomplish? No, Colombians do not fight only for two specific articulations, no matter how aggressive against the most needy they were, yes …
This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.