Photo: Eraldo Peres (AP)
Petrol stations are empty. People are stealing petrol from one another. Flights are grounded. Surgeries are cancelled. Supermarket shelves are barren. All because truck drivers have gone on strike.
Diesel prices have been rocketing sky high in Brazil lately, and truckers aren't happy. According to Brasil de Fato, the current increase is a direct result of a pricing policy. Petrobras, Brazil's state oil company, doesn't regulate prices to control inflation anymore. It hasn't been a great move for the company itself, but it's also pretty awful for anyone who depends on using petrol to, y'know, go places.
Truckers understandably got fed up, since those massive increases are cutting into their wages. So on Monday, May 21, they just stopped driving. They parked their vehicles right there on the roads and left. A deal was announced between the government and transportation unions on Thursday, where the unions agreed to suspend the strike for fifteen days so everyone could figure out a decent solution to a problem that's kind of messing up the whole country.
But the strike continued on until Friday, and now the very unpopular President Michel Temer announced that the army is getting involved. He didn't actually give any specifics, instead just saying armed forces are getting involved, but that's still a pretty ominous threat.
Truckers have felt ignored since last year, when their complaints about petrol prices then were going ignored. The strike seemed like the only way to actually be heard.
The only downside is that now hospitals are running out of supplies. Grocery stores are emptying out pretty quick. And now the army is coming to escort the parked trucks from the roads so that, y'know, you don't have to keep trying to siphon petrol off of your neighbours.
It looks like the situation is slowly getting resolved, but here's hoping they can get trucks back on the road before they start going full Mad Max and hang a guitar player from a giant automotive mess.