Brazilian officials scramble to end countrywide trucker strike

World Today

An employee of a fruit stall leans against empty crates at the CEAGESP complex, the largest food market in Latin America, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, May 29, 2018. Brazilian truckers frustrated by rising fuel prices are striking for a ninth day in several states, though sporadic deliveries of gasoline and goods are starting to ease a shutdown that has led to widespread shortages and disturbances. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Groceries and gasoline are growing scarce in Brazil as a strike by truckers reaches its ninth day.

The truck drivers are protesting high fuel costs.

The government has attempted to cut deals and threatened to use force to try and break the truckers strike that has seriously disrupted commerce in Brazil- but with very limited success so far.

In a just a few of Brazil’s 26 states, truckers returned to work and opened up supply chains after local court orders or government action.

But in most areas, the situation remains at a stalemate.

CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports.

In the state of Sao Paulo, for example, just a handful of petrol stations have any fuel and drivers face long lines to buy it.

“We are already in an economic crises and now have to deal with this fuel crises. It’s hard! I had to adapt my life to work more online and move less around the city,” salesman Gilberto Buranelo said.

“I’ve been waiting here for 5 hours already, with my two children in the car complaining they are thirsty and hungry. It’s a chaos! Brazil needs a competent government,” Adriana Carla said.

Supermarkets are also having trouble replenishing their shelves and there are concerns over the supply of medicines to hospitals and drugstores.

Most of the road blockades have disappeared, but across the country, truckers are still protesting and keeping their trucks parked on roadsides.

Over the last few days, the government announced more than once it had reached deals with truckers associations – based on reductions of diesel prices – but this has not been enough to end the strike.

Several movement leaders have signaled an end to the strikes but with no central leadership – and many truckers aligning themselves through social media- it’s hard to get all the protesters on board.

Now, workers at the national oil company Petrobras – responsible for most of the fuel production – are planning to begin a three-day strike on Wednesday.

These strikes– adding to the pressure on the politically frail government of President Michel Temer.

His popularity has been hitting record lows – and may dip even further with the current crisis and the governments’ apparent inability to solve it.