Explaining Brazil Podcast #13: Brazil’s truckers’ strike

We Brazilians always say that São Paulo is the city that never stops. Well, this time it has – in fact, it’s been stopped for the past 10 days by a truckers’ strike.

Over the past week, roads have been blocked and truckers, who are responsible for 60 percent of cargo transportation in Brazil, have not worked. Fuel and food supplies are lacking in most urban centers. São Paulo has declared a state of emergency. Over 270 flights were canceled because there was simply no fuel left for airplanes. And Uber prices have gone through the roof, if you can manage to even find one.

Last week, the government tried to negotiate with the truckers on strike and caved to their main requests. That wasn’t enough. The president’s office announced further concessions on Sunday, and yet those still weren’t enough.

On Tuesday afternoon, there remained over 500 roadblocks across the country. The leaders of the strike have lost control over the protesting truckers, with extremist movements, on both the left and right, have tried to seize the opportunity to influence workers. How did it get so bad, and what will happen now? That’s what we’re discussing this week on Explaining Brazil.

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On this podcast

Gustavo Ribeiro has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de São Paulo, Médiapart and Radio France Internationale. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Abril Prize for outstanding political journalism. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

Claudio Couto is a political scientist and the head of Fundação Getulio Vargas’ master’s program in Public Policy and Administration. He also writes as a columnist for The Brazilian Report.

Oliver Stuenkel is an Associate Professor of International Relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) in São Paulo, where he coordinates the São Paulo branch of the School of History and Social Science (CPDOC) and the executive program in International Relations.

This podcast was produced by Maria Martha Bruno. Maria Martha is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others, and worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires. Do you have a suggestion for our next Explaining Brazil podcast? Drop us a line at [email protected] Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.