Brazilian truckers. Photo: DCM

Since May 21, Brazilian truckers have staged nationwide protests by blocking roads and creating fuel and food shortages in nearly every Brazilian urban center. The weak federal administration has caved to every single demand presented by the truckers, from lowering diesel prices to giving tax exemptions to transportation companies.

Last week, The Brazilian Report showed how central the truckers’ role is to the Brazilian economy. They are responsible for over 60 percent of all freights in Brazil – including those destined to other South American countries.

As nearly nothing has been transported in the country, nearly all sectors of the economy have spiraled into chaos. Poultry and pork producers estimate their losses in the billions due to a lack of animal food. The same goes for airlines. At least 270 flights have been canceled since last week, as 11 of country’s main airports were dry on fuel.

At this point, you are probably well aware of the impacts of the truckers’ strike. But we thought we’d dig deeper and find out more about the individual truckers behind Brazil’s most significant union movement.

There are 2 million truck drivers crossing Brazil’s 8.5-million-square-meter territory. Their working conditions are far from ideal. Many of them drive over 45 hours per week – which is the same as driving for the whole day, six days a week. And the pay is not that great, either. Data from the sector says that 42 percent of their earnings go to paying for fuels alone.

</p> <p>According to the latest <a href="http://cms.cnt.org.br/Imagens%20CNT/PDFs%20CNT/Pesquisa%20de%20Perfil%20dos%20Caminhoneiros/Pesquisa_CNT_de_Perfil_dos_Caminhoneiros_2016_Completo.pdf">survey</a> conducted by the National Transport Confederation (CNT), 24 percent of Brazilian truckers use – or have used – controlled medication. Almost two-thirds of them suffer from hypertension, and 15 percent take anti-diabetes medication. The fear of violence is also very present on the road. Twelve percent of truckers have recently had their cargo stolen.</p> <p>While the truckers’ movement has demanded plenty of excesses – and is borderline illegal, due to the suspected participation of transportation business owners – it is important to understand just why these professionals are so fed up.</p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-4674" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-fTL2W-1-1024x243.png" alt="" width="1024" height="243" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-fTL2W-1-1024x243.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-fTL2W-1-300x71.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-fTL2W-1-768x182.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-fTL2W-1-610x145.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-fTL2W-1.png 1180w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-4669" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-1Un4p-1024x226.png" alt="" width="1024" height="226" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-1Un4p-1024x226.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-1Un4p-300x66.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-1Un4p-768x169.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-1Un4p-610x134.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-1Un4p.png 1180w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-4672" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-cuMx7-1024x260.png" alt="" width="1024" height="260" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-cuMx7-1024x260.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-cuMx7-300x76.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-cuMx7-768x195.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-cuMx7-610x155.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-cuMx7.png 1180w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-4671" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-F06bS-1024x347.png" alt="" width="1024" height="347" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-F06bS-1024x347.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-F06bS-300x102.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-F06bS-768x260.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-F06bS-610x207.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-F06bS.png 1180w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-4669" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-1Un4p-1024x226.png" alt="" width="1024" height="226" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-1Un4p-1024x226.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-1Un4p-300x66.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-1Un4p-768x169.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-1Un4p-610x134.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-1Un4p.png 1180w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-4667" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-9BUs6-1024x486.png" alt="" width="1024" height="486" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-9BUs6-1024x486.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-9BUs6-300x142.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-9BUs6-768x364.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-9BUs6-610x289.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-9BUs6.png 1180w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-4668" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-KD4KR-1024x599.png" alt="" width="1024" height="599" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-KD4KR-1024x599.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-KD4KR-300x175.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-KD4KR-768x449.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-KD4KR-610x357.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-KD4KR.png 1180w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-4666" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-5z3J2-1024x417.png" alt="" width="1024" height="417" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-5z3J2-1024x417.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-5z3J2-300x122.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-5z3J2-768x312.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-5z3J2-610x248.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-5z3J2.png 1180w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-4665" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-kjY54-1024x564.png" alt="" width="1024" height="564" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-kjY54-1024x564.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-kjY54-300x165.png 300w, 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src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-bmqca-1024x677.png" alt="" width="1024" height="677" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-bmqca-1024x677.png 1024w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-bmqca-300x198.png 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-bmqca-768x508.png 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-bmqca-610x403.png 610w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/export-bmqca.png 1180w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></p> <p>

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SocietyMay 30, 2018

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BY Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist with experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets.

BY Maria Martha Bruno

Maria Martha is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has already collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others. She has also worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.