May 30, 2018

Truckers' strike sparks political crisis in Brazil

Soldiers take part in an operation to clear highway Regis Bittencourt, 30 km from Sao Paulo

Soldiers take part in an operation to clear a highway close to Sao Paulo. NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

What started as a strike by truckers against rising gas prices has developed into a nationwide protest and political crisis in Brazil. Ten days after the start of the protest, the country is still paralyzed and economic losses are estimated in billions, per the NY Times.

Why it matters: Brazil is the biggest economy in South America, and is heading into unpredictable presidential elections this fall. The government of president Michel Temer already has rock bottom approval ratings, and after pushing a program of fiscal responsibility has now had to capitulate and offer fuel subsidies. That doesn't seem likely to satisfy the millions of Brazilians who are now protesting not just gas prices, but government ineffectiveness and corruption.

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