The country of over 210 million individuals will begin to go hungry in the coming days if the federal government continues to mishandle the enduring truck driver strike in Brazil.
The transport of goods has come to a standstill in Brazil. Throughout the entire country truck drivers, the lifeblood of Brazil’s internal economy, have been on strike for more than seven days. Without transportation, most petrol stations have dried up and those that haven’t are seeing queues of cars spanning kilometers as their fuel quickly disappears. Airports have also been forced to refuse planes coming in and many are left stranded as flights are cancelled.
An upcoming food crisis is imminent, for several reasons. Supermarkets have not seen their wares replenished for over a week now. Without new goods coming in, stocks will become depleted and consumers will be faced with ever more diminishing options.
The food Brazilians eat will also most like have to be consumed raw as many citizens will be without cooking gas.
Even if the situation resolves itself in the new few days there will still be long lasting consequences to Brazil’s food security. For several days an exorbitant number of livestock animals have been without feed and many are currently stuck in transport. It is expected that more than a billion animals will perish in the wake of the strike.
The truck drivers are battling against the Government’s handling of the fuel industry which, most notably, has caused oil prices to skyrocket. They are also protesting the dismantling of national assets such as the selling of major refineries. It is believed that Michel Temer, Brazil’s former vice-president who gained office after spearheading the impeachment of then president Dilma Roussef, is attempting to sell off and privatize the national oil industry to foreign actors.
Before the crisis, Michel Temer was already Brazil’s least popular president in history. Now, there is not only pressure for him to resign but many are also calling for him to deposed by force.
The vast majority of Brazil’s population is supportive of the strike, however are divided on what actions should be taken. Most want Temer gone but a great deal wish for the military to intervene and remove the president from office and assume control of the federal government. The last time Brazil’s military took control of the country was in 1964 resulting in almost 20 years of an oppressive and violent dictatorship.
The government, however, has already began to use the military to its own gain. Temer has issued presidential decrees giving the army authority to commandeer trucks and arrest drivers. Most recently, oil workers have also announced they will go on strike and the military officers have begun to occupy Brazil’s refineries.
What happens now is hard to predict but one thing is certain: Brazil’s crisis becomes more critical with each passing day as typical way of life quickly vanishes. The next events will assuredly transform the country for many years to come.
Cover photo: Sebastião Moreira – El País