Brazil faced serious supply disruptions on the seventh day of a truckers’ strike Sunday, although the government said the country was “on a path to normalization.”
Brazilian authorities have deployed the military to clear barricades erected by strikers and have been escorting fuel trucks since Friday to maintain access to refineries.
But federal transportation police reported that as of Saturday night, nearly 600 roads were at least partially blocked throughout the sprawling South American country.
Gas stations were virtually all out of fuel, and perishable foods were disappearing from store shelves.
“We are on a path to normalization,” said Sergio Etchegoyen, the Minister of Institutional Security, who added: “It’s not quick.”
Brazil is a member of the G20 group of the world’s largest emerging and advanced economies, but the first five days of the strike were estimated to have cost the country’s economy $2.8 billion, according to the daily Folha de Sao Paulo.
The truckers have attempted to put a stranglehold on movement of goods in Brazil to protest increases in fuel prices.
Prices have risen under a politically sensitive decision made in late 2016 to allow the state-run Petrobras oil giant autonomy to set its pricing.
The rise in world oil prices in recent weeks has also been a factor.
The truckers’ determination has been a heavy blow to President Michel Temer’s center-right government, five months ahead of the presidential election.
Trucks move 60 percent of the goods that are transported in Brazil, and a protracted strike could cause havoc as it emerges from a 2015-16 recession.
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