by Abdul Hussain (massive H/T @eddietours – Twitter)
Lebanon – Economic Reforms, and the ‘WhatsApp Tax’
Lebanese protestors have came out screaming in full force to protest for economic reforms as their country is finding ways to reduce financial deficits, ranging from increasing value-added tax by 2 percentage points up to 15% to even attempting to introduce a tax on using voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications, like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Apple’s FaceTime, a proposed plan which was swiftly reversed, though protests have still been ongoing, with 99 civilians being treated for injuries and other ailments, citing the Red Cross, and 100 police/security personnel were injured, according to Lebanon’s interior ministry.
Chile – Rising Public Transport Fares
Meanwhile in Chile, students have chosen to violently protest in metro stations in response to increasing fare prices, which reportedly began on October 11th, 2019, as the fare prices for the metro and bus ticket prices increased to 830 Chilean pesos (US$1.16), and 710 Chilean pesos (US$1.00) respectively, while in Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Lima (Peru), the metro ticket costs are around US$0.47 and US$0.45 respectively, making Chile one of the more expensive public transport locations in LATAM, thanks to its Ministry of Transport and Communication introducing the price hike on October 6th, 2019.
However, the officials’ response to the protests have been met with further annoyances and hinting at prices staying at the risen levels, as Gloria Hutt, the Minister of Transportation, threatened fare dodgers with blacklisting for certain rights like applying for a driver’s license, and Juan Andres Fontaine, the Minister of Economy, saying that those angered by rising fares should arrive earlier to avoid peak prices, and additionally, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Santiago Metro, Louis de Grange are displeased with the protests, with the latter considering legal action, and lastly, Chilean lawmakers have introduced a 480000 peso fee (US$677) for fare dodgers