Colombia Is Under Fire As Tax Hikes Spell Misery For Millions

Colombia is on the verge of a serious event.

Colombia is a story that has received very little exposure during the Coronavirus pandemic. Coupled with election coverage and global uncertainty, it has sunk further down the headlines.

Colombia’s President Iván Duque Márquez proposed and announced raising $6 billion worth of taxes for the state on April 28th for anyone earning more 2.4 million pesos (approximately $650) which has now been expanded to anyone earning more than $470. The government also increased surcharges on petrol and diesel which will impact goods and services supply chain.

These increases, in a time of economic hardship brought about by not only the coronavirus pandemic but also pre-existing disastrous economics prior to a global lock down has left many Colombians in poverty.

The unpopular tax hikes have prompted Colombians to take to the streets to protest against the inexplicable austerity measure during a time the public is in need of a hand up and not divisional politics.

In amongst the protests, a death toll has beencounted and now stands at 24 with police confirming 89 people are missing.

President Iván Duque Márquez has said little except to put blame on the protestors whilst using the pandemic to deflect criticism.

World leaders have largely been silent short of soundbites and a few pence worth of insight, and there has been little movement to secure sanctions against the Colombian government who have been defiant in the face of numerous human rights violations. Very few have expressed outrage at the goings on in the country, though vocalized discontent falls short of anything that can be labelled action.

Photograph: Photo by Juan Barreto