Colombia's finance minister resigned after massive protests

Colombian Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla resigned this Monday after presenting a frustrated tax reform project that sparked massive and violent protests in the country.

"My continuity in government would make it difficult to quickly and efficiently build the necessary consensus" to carry out a new fiscal proposal, he said in a statement.

Carrasquilla will be replaced by economist José Manuel Restrepo, current Minister of Commerce, the president, Iván Duque, announced on Twitter.

The president ordered the day before to withdraw the initiative that was debated in Congress due to the pressure in protests throughout the country that left at least 19 dead and 800 injured, according to authorities.

The outgoing minister warned that "in the absence of reform (...), the country's macroeconomic stability would be seriously compromised."

Presented as a way to alleviate the accounts of the fourth Latin American economy, the initiative was rejected by the opposition, political allies and protesters that the executive to punish the middle class and be untimely in the midst of the crisis unleashed by the pandemic.

Duque announced on Sunday a new text that will exclude the most controversial aspects of the previous initiative, such as the increase in VAT on goods and services and the expansion of the taxpayer base for income tax.

Instead, he will seek to temporarily tax wealthier companies and social classes, declared the conservative president whose popularity borders on 33%.



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