By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Despite the ongoing truck drivers’ protest that has paralyzed Brazil for over a week, on Monday, May 28th, Rio de Janeiro state and city officials asserted that services, including schools, buses and hospitals, should be returning close to 100 percent operation by late Tuesday, May 29th.
“The hospitals are working, more than 95 percent of state schools as well. The Metro and train are operating strong, giving coverage,” said Rio Governor Luiz Fernando Pezão in an interview on Monday. “On Tuesday, the municipal schools will also open. I think we’re getting back to normal life.”
According to the governor, eight million liters of fuel, about half of the normal delivery of 15 million, were scheduled to be delivered to various regions throughout the state late Monday from the Duque de Caxias refinery.
“Tonight, there will be a large convoy of trucks to supply essential stations and services. And, God willing, we will ensure normality,” said Governor Pezão, who also added that the fuel will be used to supply the state’s essential services, such as hospitals, garbage collection, and Military Police stations.
Rio de Janeiro city officials were also optimistic on Monday, saying that 100 percent of the city’s bus fleet and BRT would be operational by Tuesday. According to officials, about 45 percent of the fleet was running on Monday.
“[City Hall] was able to guarantee sufficient diesel for the return of 100 percent of the bus lines in the in the Rio Metropolitan Region, including the municipal and intermunicipal ones, and the BRT,” said Rio Chief of Staff, Paulo Messina.
“From this dawn, from Monday to Tuesday, everything will be normalized,” said Messina. “The city will be fully operational for tomorrow.”
With the truckers’ strike completing its eighth day, on Sunday, May 27th, Brazil President Michel Temer announced several concessions in hopes of ending the strike, including cutting taxes on diesel for sixty days and reducing tolls. However, as of Monday, the truckers have yet to accept the government’s offer.