President Dilma Rousseff recently created diesel fuel taxes to help the government in Brazil shore up their fiscal accounts. This has caused fuel prices to skyrocket where most places around the world are actually experiencing lower than normal fuel. The diesel tax took effect on February 1, making a gallon of gas reach $4.15. Brazilian truck drivers are protesting high fuel costs with strikes. This is affecting food distribution across the country.
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In addition to strikes, truckers are restricting the flow of goods on BR 163. This is the main highway that carries soybeans and other agricultural goods through the country. Protestors have been doing this since the middle of February and there have been 23 major blockages. Several states in Brazil have had major delays in the shipment of food, including Parana, Minas Gerais, and Rio Goias do Sul. A representative for Roto do Oeste said, “There is no sign the blockage in Sorriso (Mato Grosso) and the other towns in the state is ending. Trucks are not getting through.”
The government is obviously not happy about the trucker strikes and protests, but they are having a difficult time doing anything about it. The hard part for the government is that the strikes were not organized by any labor union. They have been spontaneously taking place across the country by groups of unaffiliated protesters, truckers, and small logistics companies.
If the issue is not taken care of soon, the world may start seeing the effects of the strikes. Brazil is the leading producer of sugar, soybeans, coffee, orange juice, beef, and poultry. Currently the ports have been getting the food they need, but it could be a problem soon. However, the government has shown no signs of letting up and neither have protestors.[/show_to]
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