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Brazilian Military Deployed To Break Up Trucking Strike As State Of Emergency Worsens

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A nationwide trucking strike in Brazil entered day six on Saturday, as blocked roads have prevented critical food and supplies from reaching their destinations.

The protests, triggered by a 50% spike in fuel prices over the last year, have resulted in the declaration of a state of emergency across most major cities as shelves run bare and fuel supplies dwindle. Airports have reported running out of fuel, hospitals are running out of supplies, and public transport and trash collection have been reduced or halted across the country. Some food prices have also spiked as supplies dwindle. As we noted on Friday, a lack of livestock feed threatens a billion chickens and 20 million pigs who may starve to death.

Brazilian export group ABPA said that over 150 poultry and pork processing plants had indefinitely suspended production, while Brazil’s sugar industry – the world’s largest – is slowly halting cane harvest operations as their machines run out of fuel.

Despite a Thursday agreement with the truckers and the Friday deployment of the military to physically unblock roads, the government has only reported a few blockades being lifted on major highways.

In an attempt to end the dispute, oil company Petrobas cut the price of diesel by 10% for two weeks – however all that did was scare investors. The truckers were not impressed, considering that they’ve been subject to fuel price increases of around 50% over the last year.

Petrobras shares plunged after the announcement and are down at least 20 percent this week, leading losses in the Ibovespa index, which has lost 4.3 percent in the period. That pushed the stock market’s monthly drop to 7.7 percent, one of the worst performers among major global benchmarks. -Bloomberg

The main entity representing truckers, ABCAM, said they haven’t changed their stance – and that they will call off protests only after federal diesel taxes are scrapped.

truckers say they want a definitive solution, saying they will end the protest only when a decision to eliminate federal diesel taxes is published in the official gazette.

Local TV showed footage of federal forces being deployed over the night to some critical areas to help police remove trucks from highways.

There were no reports of violence, but main roads remained blocked in the morning, including a key transport ring around Sao Paulo, the country’s largest city. -Yahoo

Brazil’s auto production, which constitutes around 25% of industrial output, also ground to a halt on Friday. Authorities say that even after the strike ends, it will take several days to replenish vital supplies.


Chris G. Long

Chis Long is an award winning writer for The San Andreas Times, and various other publications. He lives in Sacramento with his wife and two children.

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