To mark its first 100 days, the Government presented a Tax Reform which has been vigorously rejected across the country. The strength and resistance of the popular sectors, the media and the opposition are the forces pushing for it to be modified.
The Reform presented by the much-questioned Minister of the “Water Coupons” extends VAT to all essential consumer goods, including those never taxed before by previous governments, thus affecting above all the lower and middle classes. At the same time it reduces taxes on large companies and multinationals under the pretext of encouraging investment.
Following the same line of governing in the interests of the powerful,President Duque’s submission to the demands of the US is remarkable. Immediately after his inauguration Duque went to meet Trump, and after that he hastened to lead the harassment against Venezuela and to revivethe failed US war on drugs.
Duque undertakes chemical warfare against coca-growing communities by means of forced eradication and fumigation with Glyphosate, thereby ignoring the policy of crop substitution and the peasant economy of the poorest regions of Colombia.
Civic resistance against the Government’s warlike plans has been growing in various regions of Colombia, and in this respect the mobilisation in defence of public Universities is outstanding. The Universities are bankrupt because of an accumulated deficit of 18 billion pesos, and the protest movement demands the immediate provision of 4.5 billion pesos and other measures to cover the accumulated budget deficit from previous years.
The Government has not yet offered any real solution to the financial crisis of public education, rather it has begun to attack the protests with the military police (ESMAD) and by judicial repression.
Street demonstrations and protests have marked the first 100 days of the Democratic Centre Government, and this has led to the proposal for a National Strike to demand peace and a decent life for Colombia.
Duque is also waging war on the peace process. It must not be forgotten that the Democratic Centre Party of ex-president Uribe Velez’s followers makes a principle of its rejection of the peace process and the agreements. This party led the No campaign in the October 2016 referendum; and now it is in government it continues to restrict the peace process and to torpedo attempts to achieve a political solution to the conflict.
Uribe and his followers no longer talk about peace agreements in general, they only refer to the reinsertion of the FARC ex-combatants. On the other hand they have suspended negotiations with the Army of National Liberation (ELN) and keep them subject to unilateral demands, ignoring the agreements reached in previous years between the State and the ELN and witnessed by the international community.
In these 100 days, as was remarked by one journalist, peace has been put on the back burner and replaced by “security”, “order” and “legality”, while social protest is met by warfare.
Fortunately these 100 days of Duque’s Government have been marked by greater convergence and strength of the popular sectors and the alternative forces resisting its anti-popular and anti-national policy. Thus the struggle for peace and change is gaining strength as it moves towards new moments for the country and new goals of mobilisation forthe majority of the people.
(Taken from the original