With 76 votes in favor and one against, the Senate approved a bill that supposedly would allow the far-right administration to grant aid to 50 percent of the population affected by the pandemic. Since the bill did not really serve that purpose, progressive senators left the plenary session.
"The opposition bench withdraws and will not vote... It is a lie that it is a social equity reform. The Duque administration keeps its demagogic narrative of granting 'aid' to try to get votes in 2022 but it does not solve the crisis," Alternative Democratic Pole Senator Ivan Cepeda tweeted.
In the Lower Chamber, the initiative was approved with 124 votes in favor. Opposition representatives also left the session arguing that the right-wing parties did not allow any discussion of the proposal.
With no sense of irony, Colombia's Iván Duque called on the US to list Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism.
"Don’t be so cynical [Duque]. You are at the head of a narco gov't that exports drugs and violence," responded Venezuelan FM @jaarreaza
"Congress is not the notary of the Executive branch! We withdraw from the tax reform. It is not honest that they entered the proposal yesterday at 5 pm and want to approve it without discussion today," Green Alliance lawmaker Katherine Miranda denounced.
Since 2019, in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis, the Duque administration has been trying to raise some US$6.6 billion in taxes by expanding the number of taxpayers and increasing the income tax on those who earn less.
In April 2020, the tax reform unleashed massive protests throughout the country. Duque was forced to withdraw his bill and asked his Cabinet to prepare a new tax proposal through dialogue with parties, social organizations, universities, and companies.
Nevertheless, the protests did not stop. They escalated, lasted for months, and were brutally repressed by the Police, the Army, and paramilitary groups. Currently, over 42 percent of Colombians live in poverty.