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timo.jpgRSS Timoleón Jiménez

Timoleón Jiménez is the head of the National Secretariat of the FARC-EP and its Central High Command 
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 00:00

Tax reform and manipulators

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As if it was an April fools´ joke, the National Government sanctioned a new tax reform last December 28, after an intense controversy, leaving in the air the feeling that none, not even the Ministry of Finance that had presented it, was fully satisfied with it. The criticisms sprang from all sectors, although in the end the majority seemed to conclude that it was a necessary evil, to which we must be resigned to in any chase. Another toad that the country will have to swallow[1].

The worst about it is the wicked political advantage that has been sought from it, to turn against the ongoing peace process in general and against the FARC-EP in particular. In both cases based on the false and stubborn argument that there was a tacit agreement between the National Government and us in order to have it approved. Nothing further from the truth. The FARC will never consent to the slightest assault on the pocket of the Colombian people.

It is not true that the tax collection derived from the approved tax reform is intended to meet the required amount of resources needed to satisfy the fiscal requirements that arose from the Havana Agreements. Since the approval of the General Budget of the Nation for 2017, it was clear that the National Government lacked the will to allocate new resources for it, peace remained without the necessary funds and the government knew it.

The real motivation for the tax reform was due to other priorities, the huge fiscal deficit caused by the fall in the price of raw materials and the increase in the service of the public debt; a perverse instrument of State financing instituted in our country by the imposition of large transnational capital. Taxes on the bulk of the population increased due to demands from the IMF and the OECD, multilateral credit institutions, which even threatened to lower the rating of the Colombian debt on the international credit market.

This situation is not new to the country's economy and, moreover, not only victimizes Colombia, but also all dependent countries, governed by an elite that has been bound for more than three decades to the neoliberal model of economy. According to this, the least important thing in any nation is social spending, which must be reduced to the maximum in order to guarantee the profit share of the large financial and extractive capital which is urges its self reproduction.

The most recent tax reform of President Santos, reproduces in new circumstances the same demand made and satisfied by the administrations of Álvaro Uribe, Andres Pastrana, Ernesto Samper and César Gaviria [former presidents], and adds to the successive and incessant privatizations of public entities and services; the repeated financial, customs and labor deregulation, and the hundreds of thousands of layoffs decreed in the last decades, which point to the abolition of State intervention in social welfare, condemning poverty and misery on to millions of human beings who have to try and survive however they can in addition to paying more taxes.

That is why the declarations of the far-right result to be clownish [represented in former presidents Alvaro Uribe and Andres Pastrana], according to which they always opposed the new tax increase. The deepening of the neoliberal model has been a result of this administration and all the government administrations that preceded it, which among other things also conferred an excessive and growing slice of the national budget on war, the so-called national defense, the apparatus of repression whose only real role has been of persecution, crime, imprisonment and terror against that immense amount of Colombians moved by nonconformity and who protest against the permanent plundering of the country and its labor.

So now they come like hypocrites pretending to wash their faces and show themselves as the only ones who can save Colombia from the present disaster they themselves have woven. The same faces of Santos and Cárdenas, with the same team of technicians trained in the inhuman Chicago school theories, who have been alternating in the management of the national economy in all the past government administrations, with indecent submission to the international lending institutions , who first impose their terms and then applaud to demand more.

Not even in the so-called Budget for Peace of 2017, despite the imminent Final Agreement with the FARC, a minimal reduction of military spending was contemplated, publicly unveiling their intention to maintain the apparatus of subjugation. On the contrary, with Colombian taxpayers' money, it is planned to send Colombian troops to participate in conflicts abroad that will only aggravate the situation of the country. Cooperation with NATO is part of the same neoliberal package signed by Álvaro Uribe with the seven gringo bases in Colombia.

In the context of such outlook, only the light of the Colombian people is left, the Havana Agreements if implemented and fulfilled as signed, will allow and guarantee the massive, active and transforming presence of millions of Colombians in the political life of the country. For the first time, we Colombians have gained a legitimate tool, unavoidable from the legal point of view, recognized and applauded by the international community, which will allow us to oppose the elites and their model head-on, and to open the way for a new democratic and just country.

That is why it it’s important to defend the agreed in Havana starting from now, to demand its immediate implementation and strict compliance. It will not be Santos or his successors, or even his inspirers in the international community who will take charge of materializing the agreed in the Definitive Accord. It is the Colombian people, organized, conscious and mobilized by the great changes that will be in charge of achieving it. That is what the oligarchy of our country fears, so they attack and try to ignore the agreed. That is why they lie without shame.

It is also surprising that for some left winged sectors there is insistence on pointing out to the FARC as allies of Juan Manuel Santos in his lagging, neoliberal and repressive policies, even presenting us as accomplices of the Santista tax reform. In doing so, perhaps without perceiving it, they are locating themselves on the same side of the far-right of Uribe and end up serving their purposes to delegitimize the Havana Agreements in order to repel them in the future. The unity of the Colombian people against the model and its representatives is a priority that cannot be ignored under any pretext.

We all have to save Colombia, let's go for that.

Havana, January 4, 2017


[1]Translators note: The expression of “swallowing toads” in Colombia means something like: what a person or group of people have to imperatively go through or withstand in an unpleasant situation. It is mostly used when referring to the things that society or political sectors have to withstand due to the political action and/or decisions of the other.

Review an article by Comandante Victoria Sandino on “swallowing toads” here

Last modified on Thursday, 05 January 2017 16:08