Colombian President Iván Duque announced the creation of a plan for youth employment, which will subsidize 25% of the minimum wage for each entrepreneur. The proposal, called the shock plan, will serve people between the ages of 18 and 28.
The announcement was made in response to protests in the country since the end of April, which bring together a varied agenda, including better living conditions. “We want to help young people looking for the first opportunity. We have spoken to them and we understand their concerns,” Duque said in a statement.
The president said that the amount of the subsidy is practically the same as the expenses that companies have with the social security of entrepreneurs. The minimum wage in Colombia is currently 908,526 pesos (approximately R $ 1,300) per month. For comparison, the minimum in Brazil is R $ 1,100.
The president also ordered security forces to end road barricades, erected by protesters in recent weeks. He promised that the removals would be done in coordination with local governments and with respect for human rights.
Roadblocks, many of which were set up by rural residents and truck drivers, are creating a shortage of food and fuel across the country, especially in Cali, which has become the epicenter of protests in the country. .
Last week 700,000 tonnes of food could not be transported. Vandalism at protests and highway barriers generated a loss of US $ 1.6 billion (R $ 8.4 billion), according to the government.
Duque said some of the blockades were carried out by people linked to the crime and guerrilla groups, and accused them of scenes of violence that have taken place in recent weeks.
Protests in the country continued this weekend as well as Monday (17), a public holiday in Colombia. Since the start of the crisis, clashes in action have left at least 42 dead and more than 1,500 injured, according to official figures.
The harsh crackdown on demonstrators drew strong international criticism. The UN, the United States, the European Union and human rights NGOs have denounced serious abuses committed by the police.
Last week, for example, a policeman was accused by the Public Defender’s Office of killing a 17-year-old with a bullet to the head during protests in Cali. According to the agency, on April 28, Constable Luis Piedrahita was kicked by the teenager while he was riding a motorcycle. He got out of the vehicle and, standing, shot the young man. For prosecutors, there is no way to tell that the police acted in self-defense. If found guilty, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
Initially, the acts were against the tax reform proposed by President Iván Duque. Although he withdrew the bill, the violent crackdown on protests continued to fuel discontent. Since then, acts have multiplied, without a defined agenda or direction, but with demands that demand a more just country and a more united state that guarantees life and security.