Tension in Colombia: protests return to Duque’s speech in Congress

The date of the new mobilization – symbolic, moreover, because it is the anniversary of Colombia’s declaration of independence – had been announced by the CNP when it suspended the strike on June 15.

Thirty-five days later, this mobilization promises to serve with a thermometer of the social crisis exposed for two months by the national strike, the protests and the bloody repression unleashed by the Government, which ended with some 80 deaths, hundreds of injuries and dozens of disappeared, according to Colombian human rights organizations.

The CNP, after the failure of the dialogue with Duque, will present and deliver to Congress 10 legislative initiatives, backed by what they call in Colombia “the alternative bench”, that is, the left and center-left opposition.

The projects promote the payment of a basic income for 7 months and for 10 million people; zero tuition for college students; the defense of national agricultural, peasant and artisan production, among others.

But the Duque government also took advantage of these 35 days of truce to seek to retake the political initiative in the country: it announced the entry into Congress of two initiatives expensive to its objectives, an Anti-Vandalism Law and a new Tax Reform.

The ministries of Justice, Interior and Defense and the Ministry for National Security worked on the first of the initiatives, on three axes: determining new criminal types for crimes, toughening the penalties and differentiating the action against vandalism from the protection of the peaceful demonstration.

Regarding the tax reform, it was precisely an initiative in this regard that triggered the start of the strike, and although the president later withdrew it, the list of social demands had already changed and the mobilizations became daily, much more because of the repression of the police forces.

Now, Duque presented a new text, which he called the Social Investment Project, which empowers the president to merge sectors of the State and eliminate others, and plans to raise $ 3,900,000,000.

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