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Price of Diesel Goes Up and Truck Drivers Go on Strike in 17 Brazilian States

05/22/2018 - 11h36

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MARCELO TOLEDO
FROM RIBEIRÃO PRETO
NATÁLIA PORTINARI
FROM SÃO PAULO
TALITA FERNANDES
FROM BRASÍLIA

Approximately 300,000 truck drivers who are discontent with the adjustment of the price of diesel decided to go on strike in all five of Brazil's regions on Monday (the 21st). At least 17 states along with the Federal District registered demonstrations that set up blockades on highways. The demonstrations were organized by the Brazilian Association of Truck Drivers (Abcam) - a union that represents autonomous drivers.

São Paulo and Minas Gerais were the two states that were affected the most.

Petrobras, which has decided to continue implementing its price adjustment policy, announced new price increases for diesel - which accumulated a 12.3% increase in May - and gasoline.

In light of the nationwide protest, Eliseu Padilha, president Temer's chief of staff, said that the government is looking for ways of making it easier to predict the price of fuel.

However, he declined to comment on the possibility of modifying the tax rates that are charged - an alternative that had been raised by Mines and Energy Minister Moreira Franco last Friday (the 18th). Nor did he mention the possibility of changing Petrobras' pricing policy.

Lucas LACAZ RUIZ /A13
Truck drivers go on strike in São José dos Campos
Truck drivers go on strike in São José dos Campos

Mr. Padilha simply mentioned that the increases are the result of an international pricing policy that the state-owned company decided to adopt.

He stated that the increase in prices were justified by the rise of the dollar and the price of oil and that the government has already scheduled a meeting with the oil company's directors for Tuesday.

Committees ought to be set up in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate in order to discuss the price of fuel.

A statement issued by the presidents of both chambers of Congress read that "the current level of [gas prices] has a negative impact on the daily lives of Brazilians".

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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