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Why are there anti-Pedro protests in Colombia this September 26? gear locations and more

(CNN Spanish) — The opposition is preparing for its first march against the government less than two months after Gustavo Pedro became president. The initiative, called by right-wing leaders, seeks to roll back measures such as the government’s proposed petro reforms or tax reforms, saying no to rising fuel prices and rejecting taxes on single-use plastics. This was the first protest against Pedro.

Pierre Onzaga, spokesman for the so-called “Great Mobilization for Colombia,” said the main reasons for Monday’s protest were the hike in gasoline prices and the tax on single-use plastics proposed in the reform. Government of Gustavo Pedro. According to him, this move will have a domino effect in increasing prices in the family shopping basket, which is why he is calling for both tax reform and the removal of the tax on plastic.

“It doesn’t tell us what that money (tax reform) is going to, it’s not a reform that seeks to create jobs, to create growth. In fact, it sells to Colombians the idea of ​​a reform of 4,000. That’s what it looks like for the very rich and the 48 million richest Colombians,” said Onzaka of the reasons for the march. said.

Pedro argued that his tax reform would only increase taxes on the rich and justified other economic measures to cover the fiscal gap he says he inherited from the previous government.

“What’s happening is that they don’t want some of the wealthiest sectors of Colombian society to be taxed. In Colombia the wealth tax goes to the rich,” Pedro said, adding that people who have accumulated vast wealth “don’t even know that it’s being spent by the great-grandchildren of these people.”

“Tax reform has never been done on the basis that people with higher incomes should get paid more…that is unconstitutional. [dicen] ‘No, what a terrible tax reform, we should have a march'”, The President said in Noticias Caracol Taxes on the rich in Colombia last Friday.

According to Onsaka, the proposal in the tax reform and tax on food will also increase the cost of food.

“By taxing plastic and removing exemptions on gasoline, they increase all food packaged in plastic: salt, sugar, rice and pasta in neighborhood stores,” added Onsaka.

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Here are other reasons why protests have been called in several Colombian cities for this September 26, in which, according to the organizer, they will join, among others, carriers who do not agree to the increase in gasoline prices.

Onzaka says he hopes at least one million Colombians will participate in the march, which will take place in several cities across the country.

Other reasons for resistance

The national situation is that the recently elected Pedro government is settling into office, so presenting its government plan for recognition is only the tip of the iceberg.

He said other reasons for calling for the rally were the amendment to the Electoral Act, which he said would affect democracy: “They can close a party or a movement of a party to sign. According to the criteria to have that mega-organism”.

The proposition you refer to Reforms in Election Law On August 8 Pedro’s Minister of the Interior Alfonso Prada and The National Registrar Alexander Vega, and the National Electoral Council. The reform was approved in the Congress not only by the ruling parties but also by the opposition parties.

Onzaga also accused the country of “institutionalization” due to the departure of dozens of high-ranking military officers in the government. Indeed, upon his arrival, Pedro 50 generals of army and police retired When he appointed his new military and police chief in September this year.

Another measure they oppose would be against the resumption of relations with Venezuela, which will reopen the borders between the two countries for business on September 26, in an event likely to include the Pedro Norte border. de Santander, in the country’s northwest, has yet to confirm Maduro’s presence. The Venezuelan President has welcomed the initiative of the Colombian government and pointed out that The reopening of borders must be “total, complete and free”.

What does the Colombian government say about criticism of the reforms?

The Petro government has begun to pave the way for what the next four years will hold, and has already toyed with a tax reform that seeks to raise more taxes to invest in social spending and reduce the budget deficit. These have two main objectives: to raise money to invest in health, education and social expenditure in general, Finance Ministry says.

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Finance Minister José Antonio Ocampo has said that single-use plastics must be “eliminated” because of the environmental impact they create, against the opposition’s opposition to the use of plastic. That is why they want to tax this item, which is included in the tax reform.

The government is proud to support the tax reform of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development -OECD- of which Colombia is a part. Because the body says so “The current collection is insufficient to meet the demands of the people and increase investment in social and educational policies.”

It has also insisted on a hike in petro duty Does not affect the middle or lower classes of the country. Contrary to what his detractors claim.

It has also been clarified Petrol price hike Half of the country’s budget deficit is caused by gasoline subsidies, and with that deficit, priorities like hunger and poverty in Colombia are being neglected.

The president says he will not raise the price of gasoline in Colombia – one of the lowest on the continent. creating a deficit of nearly 40 billions pesos per year, about 9,000 million US dollars at current exchange rates.

However, the President has warned against this Diesel price will not be touchedLand freight transport is the most frequently moved fuel.

As for relations with Venezuela, this is the policy of the Petro government An advocate of default relations at all levels to “restore brotherly relations” between the two countries.

First march against Petro

It was the first demonstration against Pedro’s government less than two months after coming to power. And it is a protest that others will follow in 2019 and 2021.

The country was not immune to the so-called “Latin American Spring” that saw many countries in the region protest against their governments between 2019 and 2021, marches overtaken by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In those years, millions of Colombians took to the streets against the Duque government, which proposed a tax reform that, in the framework of the Covid-19 pandemic, caused hardship to a large part of society.

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Reforms proposed by the Duke government amid a pandemic include taxing basic goods from the household basket, increasing petrol prices, widening the tax base of income tax, imposing a unity tax on higher salaries, and taxing wealth. For two years, VAT on funeral and internet services, among others.

The controversial reform forced the duke’s government to resign its finance minister, Alberto Carrasquilla, but protests spread over social discontent over police violence and military abuses that had already engulfed Colombians.

Onsaka did not participate in the 2019 and 2021 protests against Duke’s tax reform or family basket tax proposal. He claims that he did not join the protests against the Duke at the time and that the protests on September 26 were faked by the citizens.

“What we’re doing specifically here is calling on Colombians to mobilize en masse against the reforms for the sake of Colombians and for the sake of the state. We have no political party behind us, no Congress behind us,” Ozaga told CNN.

Places of concentration

Organizers expect marches in at least 23 cities in Colombia, with concentrations at different points starting at 10 a.m. local time.

Start: 26 at Plaza de los Heros Gaitos
Visit: Bolivar Square

Start: National Park
Visit: Bolivar Square

Opening: Pablo Toban Uribe Theater
Visit: Lantern Park

Start: Pan-American Park
Visit: Jairo Varela Square

Santa Marta
Concentration in Plazoleta Rodrigo de Bastidas.

Abroad, parades are expected in Coral Gables, Florida in the US; Orlando, Florida; Oklahoma City, New York, Houston and Atlanta; The concentration in Mexico will be the Angel of Independence in Mexico City. In Panama, it will be at Parque del Florista Punta Paitilla in Panama City, and in Switzerland it will be the Colombian Embassy in Bern.