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The Colombian finance minister resigns to promote “consensus” after days of violent protests

The National Unemployment Committee has announced new mobilizations for Wednesday and asks the government to listen to their proposals

The Colombian Ombudsman’s office has reported 19 civilian deaths as part of the protests since last Thursday

Colombian Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla resigned this Monday as his continuity in government “would make it difficult to quickly and efficiently establish the necessary consensus after consecutive days of violent protests in the country against the tax” reform envisaged by the administration .

The Colombian finance minister resigns to promote “consensus” after days of violent protests
The Colombian finance minister resigns to promote “consensus” after days of violent protests

Carrasquilla met in the Nariño Palace with Colombian President Iván Duque, who accepted his resignation and whom the former minister thanked “for the honor of appointing him”, according to a statement from the Ministry of Finance.

The letter also shows how Carrasquilla informed the President that “the withdrawal of the initiative he tabled in the Congress of the Republic (the tax reform) is an opportunity to initiate and conduct a calm and constructive dialogue leading to consensus leads that the country urgently needs “.

In this context of escalating social tensions, with Colombian streets rife with anti-initiative protests since last week, the former finance chief has lamented that his “continuity in government would make it difficult to quickly and efficiently build the necessary consensus,” said he says. “Time”.

Carrasquilla’s resignation after Duque’s withdrawal from the tax reform project was an open secret as it was the former minister’s grand project as well as the flame that ignited the demonstrations in Colombian cities.

“On the one hand, it is important to give continuity to the social and economic protection programs that have expired since last March. On the other hand, the macroeconomic stability of the country is seriously jeopardized in the absence of a gradual and orderly tax reform,” added Carrasquilla in a declaration of resignation.

Following the news, Duque has confirmed that he has accepted Carrasquilla’s complaint through his Twitter account. There he also showed his “gratitude and respect for his contribution (that of Carrasquilla) to the head of the economic team. They have achieved important achievements, including an unprecedented social program to combat the pandemic,” he said.

Duque has appointed José Manuel Restrepo, who was previously responsible for the Ministry of Commerce, as the new Head of the Ministry of Finance. “An economist with a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics and a doctorate in administration from the University of Bath, former rector of the Universidad del Rosario, and with a tremendous calling to serve the country,” Duque described the newcomer Minister.

NEW call for mobilization

Despite the withdrawal of the tax reform project and the head of the Ministry of Finance and the creator of the initiative, the National Unemployment Committee has scheduled a new day of protest for next Wednesday, May 5th.

In a communiqué he called “again on all citizens to maintain and step up the actions of the national strike and to carry out a great democratic, peaceful and civilized mobilization on May 5th, which is required of the government in strict compliance with the regulations on biosafety outlined points “.

In addition, the student organizations and the trade unions that make up this committee have called for the “demilitarization of cities”. Among his demands is the negotiation of his emergency plan, which includes the withdrawal of the health reform and a basic income of one million pesos, reports ‘El Espectador’.

This Monday marked the sixth day in a row that protests and mobilizations took place across the national geography. There were demonstrations in Bogotá, Medellín, Cúcuta, Cartagena, Duitama, Montería, Barranquilla, Ibagué, Cali and other cities in the country.

On that day, blockades were reported again in cities such as Medellín or Bogotá, where the public transport system was also affected. There were also blockades in Cali, one of the hottest points of these mobilizations, which, according to the local press, have led to a supply bottleneck in the city, as the entrances and exits to the urban core were blocked by protests during these five days.

19 DEATH SINCE THURSDAY

The latest balance offered by the Colombian Ombudsman’s office shows that 19 civilians have died since Thursday last week as part of the protests in Colombia, for which it is requesting an investigation to determine the causes and circumstances of the deaths.

The deceased were registered in Valle del Cauca, Bogotá, Neiva, Cali, Soacha, Yumbo, Ibagué, Madrid (Cundinamarca), Medellín and Pereira.

In addition, the Ombudsman’s office assesses and classifies, as noted in a statement, “140 complaints containing information about the deceased, disappeared, police abuse and injuries, received through various citizen service channels and on the ground, among others, the 340 officials of the Ombudsman who accompanied the protests reported. “

Faced with the resurgence of violence in the marches, the company has “requested the creation of spaces for dialogue between the government and the various social groups in order to seek rapprochement and reach the point of understanding that will solve the current national problem”.

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