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Truckers & # 39; Strike paralyzes Brazil as President Courts investors

SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Brazil roars back, at least in the opinion of President Michel Temer.

That was the message that the government of Mr Temer wanted to present in a series of optimistic statements in recent weeks to a foreign investment forum that begins in São Paulo on Tuesday

. But a weeks-long stalemate between striking truck drivers and The government has delivered a blatant resistance that demonstrates the shaky recovery of the Brazilian economy, Latin America's largest, and the widespread contempt of Brazilians for their ruling class

Hundreds of truck roadblocks sealed highways across the country in protest of rising gasoline prices Economy in the last few days brought to a standstill. Gas stations from São Paulo, the financial capital, to Manaus in the heart of the Amazon have no more fuel.

Dozens of flights have been canceled, fresh food in supermarkets has shrunk and millions of chickens and pigs have been culled for lack of animal nutrition. On Monday, many schools and universities stopped teaching.

An announcement by Mr Temer on Thursday that he has reached an agreement with the strike leaders is premature. Roadblocks were maintained during the weekend, and oil workers announced they were on strike this week, sparking the prospect of a worsening crisis that revealed the weakness of the Temer government ahead of a presidential election in October. 1

9659002] During the weekend, Mr. Temer issued an order authorizing the military to forcefully evict the streets, if necessary, a movement condemned by human rights groups.

But after this threat had not ended the strike, Mr Temer seemed tired when he announced on Sunday in a television statement that the government would subsidize the cost of diesel to lower the price at the pump by 12 percent. He also said that truck drivers would pay less toll and get more government contracts. The measures were conspicuous concessions from a government that has been trying to cut spending as Brazil emerges from a long, crippling recession.

"Our basic and correct concern is with the truckers and I understand their difficulties," Mr Temer said. the unpopular president in modern Brazilian history, according to polls. "We all understand the truckers' natural difficulties in their work."

Fuel costs have risen in Brazil as oil prices have increased worldwide and Brazil's real currency has depreciated. Under current policy, the price of diesel fluctuated almost daily. Under the recent agreement, diesel price adjustments will be made on a monthly basis.

The leaders of the Union have asked the drivers to accept the last agreement. But when on Monday tankers, who were accompanied by police officers and soldiers, began to replenish some gas stations, many demonstrators detained.

"The government has now met all claims in terms of diesel prices and at very high cost to public coffers," said Laura Barbosa de Carvalho, a professor of economics at the University of São Paulo, who pointed out that taxpayers ultimately cancel the bill. "But the big question is, is this movement still focusing on the price of diesel, or does it have a bigger component destabilizing the country?"

Mr. Temer's speech on Sunday evening caused Brazilians to be frustrated with what they see as a failed government honking their windows in many cities in the country and pounding pots from their windows. It was a sign of mistrust and open hostility that many Brazilians feel towards the president.

A poll released Monday on the Globo website revealed that 55 percent of Brazilians opposed the strike, 95 percent opposed

The strike was the most troubling period of turmoil since Mr Temer helped in 2016 has to sue his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff. Since then, Mr. Temer has exercised much of his political commitment. Capital Repudiation of Corruption Allegations and Violations of the Judiciary Resulting from the Far-reaching Gap Scandal Lava Jato or Car Wash

On Monday morning, around one hundred demonstrators gathered in an oil refinery on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, which was one of the focal points of the strike. Truckers were a minority in the demonstration. But dozens of unemployed oil workers, motorcycle couriers and public transport workers said they also wanted their complaints addressed.

"It started with the truckers, but it reached millions," said Alexsandro Faria, 39, an unemployed scaffolder who worked in the refinery for seven years before being released in 2016. "This is the best time to point out our requirements, and sitting on our sofas and complaining about corruption will not work."

Several strikers have argued in favor of military intervention, arguing that While support for a drastic move among the strikers is by no means widespread during the dictatorship from 1964 to 1985, the calls for military intervention in recent weeks have shaken up the crowd at the protest sites.

"It's not just the truckers anymore," said Antonio Marcos Rocha, a proponent of a military intervention that wore a Brazilian flag around his waist as he distributed free sandwiches to a crowd outside the refinery. "It's against corruption."

As protests have arrived at many Brazilians, politicians across the political spectrum have targeted the increasingly isolated and weakened president.

Left-wing leaders, who have traditionally championed workers' rights, and right-wing politicians have both attempted to present themselves as champions of truckers when the government threatened to prosecute leading entrepreneurs who had supported the strike.

The far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, a federal legislator, stated on Twitter that any fines or jail sentences of truckers "are being revoked by a future honest president / patriot."

Marina Silva, a left-liberal presidential candidate and former Minister of the Environment, criticized the government's response

"Again, the Temer administration uses the military to hide its incompetence," she wrote on Twitter. "With the rise in fuel prices, society pays prices that are too high for the mistakes of a government that does everything it can to save its own skin and keep itself in power."

The timing could not be worse for Mr Temer than for the potential foreign investors for Brazil's economic recovery while defending the legacy of his two years in office

. Temer was recently ridiculed for having unveiled a slogan stating that Brazil had moved 20 years in two years. Critics quickly pointed out that a small variation in punctuation made the slogan that Brazil had actually receded two decades in two years.

But Mr Temer tried to sound bullish on Monday when investors arrived in São Paulo, where fuel trucks needed police escorts to service airports.

"Brazil opens up to the world and the world reunites with Brazil," he said in a statement prepared for the event. He noted that inflation has fallen and interest rates have dropped from 14.25% to 6.5% and investor confidence in his market-friendly policy has risen.

The economy has freed itself from the recession, but the recovery has been thin. The value of the currency has fallen to a two-year low, largely due to uncertainty about Brazil's political future. Voters have turned their backs on the traditional parties involved in the corruption investigation.

Temer will resign after failing to meet critical structural changes he demanded, including an overhaul of the bloated pension system.

While truckers weigh their options, oil workers unions have announced a three-day strike Wednesday through Wednesday calling for, inter alia, a reduction in fuel prices and the dismissal of Pedro Parente, the president of the state oil company Petrobras

"The government has tried this idea to sell, which has solved the economic problems of the country, "said Mrs. Carvalho, the economics professor. "This crisis is proof that it was never true."

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