As tensions rise in Colombia, protestors take action


Maria Alegria (created with Canva)

The people of Colombia have lost trust in their government and have taken their concerns to the streets.

Gases cover the streets and through the smog, you grasp a glimpse of bright colors. You can see red, blue, and yellow. These are the colors of the Colombian flag, carried by protestors. They have been protesting for what feels like an eternity, fighting against the injustices set by their government.

According to NBS news, this past April the President of Colombia, Ivan Duque, proposed a tax reform that would raise the taxes on necessities such as gasoline and water. Duque argued that this reform would help the economy recover from the pandemic. 

The pandemic has caused a lot of economic hardships for the citizens of Colombia and adding a tax reform will only make things more difficult. The people took their concerns to the streets. 

On April 28, 2021, the protest for a halt to reform began and the people have taken change into their own hands. 

Streets were flooded with protestors holding nothing back, fighting against their own government but the government was quick to retaliate. 

Junior Jamie Sanchez believes the reactions of the government were unlawful.

“They used violent force and even began to silence them by cutting off internet use or invalidating their concerns,” said Sanchez.

This is not the way the government should be treating its citizens. A responsible government should listen to their citizen’s concerns instead of trying to silence them and responding with violence.

According to CNN, there have been more than 40 deaths, 39 of which have been at the hands of the Colombian Police. The police have killed, beaten, and arrested protestors. They have opened fire at protestors and have thrown tear gas at them from their vehicles, according to the New York Times. 

Junior Lucia Martinez argues that the government has no right to react in this manner.

“It’s not fair for these people to retaliate against harmful legislation and then have to be repressed by law enforcement. When a government fails to serve its people, I believe people are entitled to speak up about it and demand change,” said Martinez.  

The government shouldn’t punish their people if they cannot give them basic respect when they voice their opinions. They should also think of their people when making decisions that impact everybody. 

Senior Andreanela Ordoñez suggests that the only way change will happen is if the government changes as well.

I think the Colombian government should listen to its people but seeing that this issue goes beyond so much more, I think Colombia has to reflect on the administration that they have allowed in their governing bodies. Colombian citizens can protest all they want but if the people in power are evil and corrupt nothing will change. Colombian citizens have the right to take its government apart and reconstruct it so it can better serve them and I think that is what its current government is afraid of,” said Ordoñez.  

Colombia’s government has been known for having corruption. And this has caused the citizens to be less trusting of their government. 

According to the Bogota Post,For many, compounding corruption is widespread judicial impunity, and real threats faced by anyone calling it out. Whistle-blowers face a bullet in the post or invitation to their own funeral.” 

This has been a lasting issue in Colombia and now the protests have become more than just anger against a tax reform. 

On May 3, President Duque retrieved the proposal but that did not end the protests. The protests have brought more issues to the government’s attention. People have been protesting the police brutality they have been facing. 

The protests will continue until the government acknowledges the people’s concerns and makes needed changes.