While they were announced nearly two weeks ago, many may have forgotten that very strict regulations will be in place across the entirety of Peru over the next four days (April 1-4) during Semana Santa (Easter Week).
The measures include mandatory social immobilization (April 1-4) and restrictions of land and air transportation April 1-3). These measures will be enforced nationwide.
Only public transportation and authorized cabs will be allowed, as well as one person per family allowed to leave to buy food and other essential products. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic will be allowed, but the use of private cars is prohibited.
During these four days, food supply centers (such as markets, supermarkets and warehouses) will be open from 4:00 am to 6:00 pm. The delivery of pharmacies and drugstores will be maintained 24 hours a day. Restaurants may be open from 4:00 am to 11:00 pm only for take out or delivery. Health establishments and the press will operate 24 hours a day, as will essential services such as public and private citizen security, gas, electricity and sanitation.
Domestic air travel and interprovincial passenger transportation by land will be suspended throughout the country between April 1 and 3. International flights will not be affected, but the lack of connecting flights to and from Lima will cause major problems for many.
“More than 70,000 agents from police stations and specialized units of the PNP will be deployed throughout Peru to guarantee security and compliance with sanitary measures during Easter Week,” said Interior Minister Jose Elice Navarro. “Patrolling and operational intelligence will be intensified.”
The general commander of the Peruvian National Police (PNP), General César Cervantes, said that in Lima there will be 5,000 troops dedicated to security work enforcing these regulations.
Last week I spent three days visiting Machu Picchu and some of the surroundings within the Santuario Histórico Machu Picchu. I have lost count of how many times I’ve visited the site and explored both in the main ruins as well as the rich rainforest in which it is located, but every time I go I learn new things and my knowledge of the area always continues to grow.
Day 1: Machu Picchu in the Rain
An early start to the day found me at the PeruRail Wanchaq station at 5:30 to hop on a bus to take us to the train station at Ollantaytambo. (There are no trains going from Cusco right now because the route between Huarocondo and Pachar is prone to landslides during the winter rainy season from January 2 through April 30.)
The bus is a little boring in the morning and everyone is separated by plastic sheeting separating seats throughout the bus. The trip takes a little under 2 hours and sometimes stops for a restroom break along the way. Generally the early morning trips right now run about 60-70% full as nearly everyone is visiting Machu Picchu on a day trip and will return to Cusco later in the day.
Once we arrived at the train station in Ollantaytambo, everyone followed PeruRail workers into the station where the obligatory temperature check and alcohol spray on your hands is performed. Having been many times, I always either go ahead or lag behind and grab something to eat at one of the many stalls outside the entrance where all kinds of food as well as hats, bug repellant, rain ponchos, and just about anything else a tourist might desire can be bought at the last minute.
The ride to Aguas Calientes lasts about an hour and a half. If you go, try to get a seat on the left side of the train and the views are often spectacular — especially once you descend deeper into the mountain canyons. I traded my seat with a young Canadian woman who was visiting Peru for a week while on a year-long study program in Cuba. She was able to get some great photos as we made our way down the Urubamba valley.
Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, I always go straight to the bus ticket office to get tickets for any day(s) that I plan to go up to Machu Picchu itself. (This time I had a 1:00 p.m. ticket for the first day and a 6:00 a.m. ticket for my third day.) This allows me to avoid standing in line as sometimes there are only one or two ticket workers and it can take a long time to get a ticket. (I’ve walked up the trail to Machu Picchu and have no desire to do it again — especially since round trip tickets for residents are so cheap (19 soles/US $5) and the climb is not only tough, but often very slippery thanks to the rainforest humidity.
After checking in to the Retama Machupicchu hotel — my new go-to spot — I did a little work then headed to my favorite Chifa restaurant next to the town’s library. It’s a tradition to stop by there and get a big plate of chaufa con pollo (an Asian inspired meal of rice with eggs, soy sauce, and chicken) before going about the day’s activities. It’s one of those place where I’ve been so many times that they don’t even ask what I want to eat any more because they already know!
After this, I went back to the bus stop where people catch a ride up the mountain with it’s 17 switchbacks to reach the entrance of Machu Picchu. A light rain was coming down and had been for quite awhile. One of the guides told me that it had been raining steadily for four days so I was quite unsure if I even wanted to bother going up under those weather conditions. I literally stood there for about ten minutes trying to decide if I really wanted to go in the rain until a worker came up and asked if I was going because the bus was about to leave.
Faced with the need to decide, I hopped on the bus with my face shield covered in raindrops making it virtually imposible to see, determined to make the best of what would be my first ever trip to Machu Picchu in the rain.
There are few options to go through Machu Picchu now. Places like the Inti Punku Sun Gate, the Inca bridge, and the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains are now closed to visitors as the routes are very controlled. I took the more boring route, but the one that most visitors mistakenly take thinking they’ll get better “selfies”. My intention was just to get into the citadel quickly and take some pics with my cell phone before heading back down.
The central site itself was literally invisible from above as clouds had enveloped the mountains above. Only on my first trip in 2005 had I experienced fog and even then it was nowhere near this thick. Fortunately, it began to lighten a bit as I descended into Machu Picchu itself, but still yielding some very atmospheric photos. I only spent a couple of hours in the site, but managed to get a few nice photos.
Once I returned to Aguas Calientes, it was still early in the afternoon and I decided to take my video camera back out and film a little along the Rio Urubamba which was raging as hard as I’ve ever seen it. The power of the river always leaves me in awe — especially considering just a few months before the flow was so low that it was possible to walk across the river at this spot!
Day 2: Hiking and Filming Along the Rio Urubamba
Probably my favorite hike in the region is along the Rio Urubamba below Machu Picchu. The combination of rainforest scenery, little known Inca ruins, the gorgeous plants and flowers, along with the chance to see all kinds of wonderful jungle animals makes it a magical place to explore.
It’s even better now as the hordes of tourists hiking in from what I call “the back way” are almost non-existent. On this day I saw only three people along the way — one old man and two park rangers who stopped and visited for a bit before they continued on down the trail.
A lot of people who lived along the tracks have moved away during the pandemic seeking work elsewhere or were forced to move in with relatives elsewhere. Many had made a living by supplying snacks, meals, and drinks to the hundreds of tourists passing by during the busy season in normal times. Only a handful still live there including Señora Colonel who has a place at km 115 and has promised me there are trails to explore into the valley behind her home once the rainy season begins to fade in a month or so.
The trail is along the train tracks which follow the original path created by the Peruvian government in 1895 to allow for easier transportation of goods from the jungle down river to markets in Cusco. It’s also the same path that allowed Hiram Bingham to easily make his way to Mandor Pampa where he first ascended the mountainside to get his first view of Machu Picchu in 1911.
To me, there’s a special feeling when I think about how I’m not only following in the footsteps of Incas, but hiking along in the exact path that Bingham took as he was hoping that the promise of ruins above Mandor Pampa might turn out to be be something important. (He had a feeling they were as evidenced by the fact that he sent the rest of his team off so he could climb alone with his Peruvian military translator, known only as Sergeant Carrasco, and Melchor Arteaga who knew the way up.)
One of the place I hope to find one day is the exact spot where Bingham actually cross the river. I’ve seen a modern photo that matches up with the one Bingham took of the spot where they crossed over logs precariously connecting both sides of the river. Apparently it’s still identifiable by looking for the rocks in Bingham’s photo which still exist in the same spot today.
One thing that is certain is the location that Bingham had to climb up to Machu Picchu. There really is only one way to get up and that is through one steep but passable arroyo about a kilometer downriver from Mandor Pampa. Bingham described having to go up “a good part of the distance on all fours, sometimes holding on by our fingernails.”
What he didn’t know was that there was actually an ancient Inca road that also went up which had apparently been used by people who came down to the river to retrieve water when more was needed. A number of ruins and even fountains have been recently uncovered there after being hidden way by the jungle for centuries. This area is still being researched, but I may be able allowed to visit one day. Keep you fingers crossed!
I went a little farther downriver to near Señora Colonel’s home before dark clouds appeared over the mountain bringing a pretty heavy rain shower that encouraged my to call it a day far earlier than I’d planned and sent my back to Aguas Calientes.
My plan had been to spend the day filming in the jungle with my BMPCC 4K cinema camera, but the problem with the rainforest it that, well, it rains. Sometimes a lot. This was one of those days.
Still, I had some fun with the camera and got to use a little equipment that I hadn’t used much before. Hopefully I’ll be able to return to the rainforest soon and continue filming as the wonders of the jungle are infinite. The video I was able to capture was short, but still interesting.
Day 3: Early Morning at Machu Picchu
Despite two days of mostly rain, the third day of my trip dawned with beautiful skies and the promise of an amazing day.
I wasn’t in a hurry to get up to Machu Picchu, but I didn’t realize that neither was anyone else. I got to the bus departure location only to find three people waiting and no bus! Normally there was would literally be hundreds of people waiting to catch the buses to Machu Picchu in the hopes of seeing the sun rise over the site, but today there were only a handful of us. (I found out later that we were actually the first bus up for the day.)
I took the more “scenic” route into Machu Picchu this morning and managed to get to the overlook for the best photos of the site just as the morning sunrise began to light up the citadel. I got there even before the workers who are assigned to make sure tourists follow the prescribed route and do not venture off into the closed off areas.
I teased the worker about being late and he laughed as we talked about how empty Machu Picchu was during the pandemic as well as how incredibly clear the sky was after days of rain. The Pumasillo mountain range to the west was as clear as I have ever seen it and the view across the valleys were spectacular.
Once I made my way down to the main gate of Machu Picchu I met another worker who informed me that I was, indeed, the first person to enter the site that day! He was impressed that not only had I been there many times before, but that I knew the best route to take to explore the site.
What many people don’t understand is that Machu Picchu was never finished and was still under construction when it was finally abandoned sometime around 1570. Even more confusing is that few realize that reconstruction of Machu Picchu began in the 1940s and continues today. There is very little documentation of what was done in those early decades of work, but comparison of Bingham’s photos in 1911 and 1912 show how much has been redone since the government first began work on Machu Picchu in the 40’s.
It’s always frustrating to see the con men who promote stories of aliens and ancient “megalithic” cultures who they claim built much of Machu Picchu before the Incas. They literally make up fake stories without no factual basis at all then sell expensive tours to gullible tourists as well as promote YouTube videos based completely on lies. Sadly, the most basic research shows what they are promoting — and making a lot of money from — are wrong.
I get frustrated by the mythology that’s promoted about Machu Picchu even by the guides. One of the those myths is a story that the “Sacred Rock” is a representation of the pointed peak Yanantin that looms behind when the skies are clear. I’m amazed that this is believed by so many when it looks nothing like Yanantin. (It actually is an almost perfect reflection of the mountains Pumasillo directly to the west.)
Almost no one, however, notices the small carving near the Intihuatana that is a representation of Yanantin. Everyone passes by without seeing it because you have to drop down on your knees to see it. (I happened to notice it one time almost by accident a few months ago.)
I had fun showing some passing groups some of the noteworthy “secrets’ to be found at the Intihuatana site and got to visit with Brandon, the park ranger who was working there that morning.
The rest of the morning was spent slowly walking through the ruins and enjoying having the place almost to myself. The skies were incredible and I was really lucky to be able to visit on such a perfect day.
On the way out I took this one last photo that I posted on Instagram with the caption, “When traveling, always remember to frequently stop and look behind. Often the views where you’ve been are just as beautiful as where you’re going.”
The President of the Council of Ministers, Violeta Bermúdez, announced today that Peru could receive during the first half of this year “an important batch” of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V against coronavirus, developed by the Gamaleya Institute.
“We are coordinating with the Russian Investment Fund for the acquisition of the Sputnik V vaccine, that an important batch would arrive in the first semester,” said Bermúdez in an interview granted to TVPerú.
Bermudez said that the Russian vaccine would be used together with the Pfizer and AstraZeneca doses to complete the inoculation of the country’s senior citizens and to advance with the immunization of the following groups foreseen in the National Vaccination Plan against COVID-19.
This week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Allan Wagner, held a meeting with the Russian Ambassador to Peru, Igor V. Romanchenko, in order to manage the conditional sanitary registration of the Sputnik V vaccine, within the framework of the negotiation for the purchase of 20 million doses.
So far Peru has already signed agreements to receive 48 million vaccines this year: 20 million from Pfizer, 14 million from AstraZeneca, 13.2 million from Covax Facility and 1 million from Sinopharm, which can be extended to 38 million.
Bermúdez also said that the government brought forward the vaccination of the elderly, “because they are the most vulnerable people” to COVID-19, despite the fact that this group “was postponed for a second moment” within the Vaccination Plan elaborated during the administration of former President Martín Vizcarra.
“We started the vaccination with the groups of people who protect us and simultaneously we are starting with the vaccination of the elderly. As the doses have come in batches of 50 thousand per week, we have started with those over 80 years of age. Once we finish (with this group), the age will go down because we all know that a person is considered an elderly person from the age of 60 onwards”, he explained.
Bermúdez pointed out that, according to information from the Ministry of Health, “we will finish the vaccination of older adults (60 years and older) in May, taking into account the provision of vaccines that the different laboratories we have contracted are giving us”.
Cusco’s municipal government just announced that the Plaza de Armas will be closed tomorrow and Monday (March 28-29) as part of the measures to reduce the spread of COVID during Easter Week (Semana Santa).
At the proposal of the Cusco Regional Government, and in a joint effort between the Ministry of Environment (Minam), through the National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (Sernanp), the regional conservation area (RCA) Chuyapi Urusayhua was established this week.
Located in the districts of Echarati, Vilcabamba and Santa Ana, in the province of La Convención, Chuyapi Urusayhua seeks to ensure the conservation of the two ecoregions, six ecological floors and 12 ecological systems associated with the Urusayhua mountain and the upper part of the Chuyapi basin; as well as the biological diversity they harbor, guaranteeing the provision of ecosystem services for the benefit of local populations and contributing to the mitigation of climate change.
The park covers 80,190.78 hectares and conserves the ecoregions of the humid highlands of the central Andes and the Peruvian yungas, the latter of which is considered one of the most fragile ecoregions in Peru due to factors such as deforestation and forest fires.
The Chuyapi Urusayhua RCA is also home to three priority conservation areas for the country: the Cumpirushiato River-Cushireni River-Cirialo River, the Vilcabamba River, and the La Convención Valley Savannah Forest.
There are 936 species of flora in the area, 25 of which are in some state of conservation by national and international legislation, such as romerillo, walnut, cedar, and quina.
It is also home to 82 species of mammals, 412 birds, 30 amphibians, and 22 reptiles, among which species endemic to Peru and characteristic of the cloud forest have been identified, such as the cock of the rock, spider monkey, spectacled bear, puma, jaguarundi, dull guan, and blue-headed macaw, among others.
Their recognition also ensures the conservation of important ecosystem services such as air quality regulation, carbon sequestration as a climate change mitigation measure, water supply in quality and quantity by conserving headwaters, as well as the supply of medicinal plants and timber forest species for the benefit of local populations.
Five watersheds are located within this RCA alone: Cirialo, San Miguel, Cushireni, Vilcabamba and Chuyapi, the latter of which provides quality water to the population of Quillabamba, with more than 46,000 users of the drinking water network.
In addition to this natural wealth, Chuyapi Urusayhua also protects cultural values related to the Urusayhua mountain, which is considered the tutelary Apu of La Convención. The establishment of this new RCA was also supported by Conservación Amazónica (ACCA), the Provincial Municipality of La Convención, the Peruvian Society of Environmental Law (SPDA) and the Andes Amazon Fund (AAF).
Peru’s Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MTC) reports that plans for improving the road between Santa María, Santa Teresa, and the Hidroeléctrica which is where many people now choose to hike along the railroad to get to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are still moving forward.
In recent years prior to the pandemic, the number of people hiking the 10 km route along the railway has increased exponentially.
The current dirt road through the mountains will have a length of 31 kilometers of asphalt, two lanes of 3.30 meters each and side berms of 1.20 meters wide. The project also includes the construction of a 2-kilometer-long tunnel and its respective accesses.
This work will directly benefit more than 19,000 residents of the districts of Maranura, Santa Teresa and Machu Picchu Pueblo, in the Cusco provinces of La Convención and Urubamba, strengthening tourism in the region. It will also make the route faster and safer.
No proposed date for completion has been released.
I was surprised last night at how the Peruvian government failed to publish detailed information on which provinces would fall under the different risk designations along with the measures assigned to each of those groups for the coming period from March 29 through April 11. It actually took more research than expected to locate all of these this morning, but here are charts for each risk group. (Be sure to click on the graphics to see larger versions.)
A press conference with the Peru’s Prime Minister, Violeta Bermúdez, and the Council of Ministers just concluded with new announcements to continue dealing with the pandemic.
Bermúdez opened with several announcements including the established of a “national conservation area” in Cusco along with the declaration of a state of emergency in various districts of the departments Loreto, Junin, Cajamarca, Huanuco, Puno, and Junin as a result of heavy rainfall.
She also noted the slight decrease in deaths at national level by COVID-19. (You can read more on this in my post from earlier today here: COVID in Peru as Government Relaxes Measures.)
Nuria Esparch, Peru’s Minister of Defense then announced that the rate of virus reproduction in the last week went from 0.9 to 1.03.
She also announced that, from March 29 to April 11, 14 provinces will be categorized as “High Risk”, 163 will be at “Very High Risk” and 19 at “Extreme Risk”.
Provinces under “Extreme Risk” will have 9 pm to 4 am curfews and complete Sunday lockdown. These are the provinces designated “Extreme Risk” (followed by the region in which they are located):
– Andahuaylas (Apurímac)
– Huaylas (Áncash)
– Huamanga (Ayacucho)
– Cusco (Cusco)
– Ica (Ica)
– Chupaca (Junín)
– Chanchamayo (Junín)
– Trujillo (La Libertad)
– Pacasmayo (La Libertad)
– Barranca (Lima)
– Huaura (Lima)
– Huarochirí (Lima)
– Alto Amazonas (Loreto)
– Tambopata (Madre de Dios)
– Piura (Piura)
– Puno (Puno)
– Moyobamba (San Martín)
– Tumbes (Tumbes)
– Cornel Portillo (Ucayali)
[NOTE: The government has yet to release any other details on the designations. I’ll add them as soon as they become available, but they were not discussed in the press conference and have not been released as of the conclusion. This is, of course, very frustrating.]
All measures announced for April 1-4 across the country are still expected to be in effect. You can read about them here: Major New Restrictions in Peru Announced for Easter Week.
The Prime Minister noted that “the population located in extreme risk provinces dropped from 7.1 million to 5.2 million people.”
Peru’s Minister of Health, Óscar Ugarte, confirmed that, as feared, “the main variant causing COVID-19 today in Lima, at a percentage of 39.7%, is the Brazilian variant.”
Ugarte also announced that “with the Pfizer vaccine batch that will arrive next week, the second dose will be applied to the first 50,000 among senior citizens and personnel of the Armed Forces and National Police.”
Bermúdez then noted that “We would never refuse vaccines, especially if they come from the United States.”
She continued by saying “In a time of crisis we have to prioritize health care and we are still in a health crisis. Vaccination is the only antidote to overcome the economic crisis and the pandemic…Vaccines are the best shield protecting us from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
About 10 days ago, the Peruvian government began to relax measures against COVID-19 across most of the country — particularly in the most heavily populated area of Lima where 11 million people are congregated.
The number of provinces designated as “Extreme Risk” areas went down, but some — like Cusco — were added to this highest risk level. The catch is that the measures being taken in these provinces actually changed very little as the “Extreme Risk” measures were eased considerably. Besides the Sunday lockdown — which was ignored by a great deal of the population and apparently law enforcement as well last weekend — not much really changed compared to the previous “Very High Risk” measures.
[The following information in based on the most recent reports from Peru’s Ministry of Health (Minsa) through March 22.]
The positivity rate of testing is by far most concerning piece of data as the rising trend is extremely worrisome. This indicates just how many people are actually being infected across the country. Peru’s inability to adequately track the effects of the COVID variants — particularly the Brazilian P.1 variant — affects it’s ability to know exactly what is driving this new rise in infections. Research indicates that this variant coming from Peru’s next door neighbor through a porous border is much more contagious than the original virus.
Brazil’s lack of leadership from President Jair Bolsonaro who continually exhibits profound ignorance about the science of COVID-19 isn’t helping much, either.
The chart below showing the trends during this second wave of COVID makes clear how the rise in the past few days threatens to wipe out the decrease over the previous month. Things had been looking relatively good as positivity rates were creeping back own to some of the lowest levels since the pandemic began, but those gains are disappearing.
The number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 has remained relatively steady for a long time, but there is a concerning increasing trend of late that should concern everyone. While Peru’s health system in general can absorb a little more as great strides have been made in the past year, it wouldn’t take much for it to be overwhelmed once again as many components such as ICU beds and oxygen availability are already overwhelmed across much of the country.
The next couple of weeks should give a clear indication of whether rising infection rates will drive increased hospitalizations at the same level.
Sadly, the number of people hospitalized in ICU units continues to rise very slowly. It almost slowly would rise faster except there are very, very ICU needs available across the country. An opening in a unit is usually caused by an additional bed added or the death of a patient who previous occupied a bed. There’s little expected that this is going to do anything but rise for a long time.
The one piece of good news is the lowering of the number of deaths each day. This trend has been fairly steady for a couple of weeks now and is very encouraging, though it should be remembered that this is a drop from the worst month since the pandemic began. March is averaging 3x more deaths each day (172.2) than as recently as December (54.6) just three month ago.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
The trends are not good. Until positivity rates begin to go down again. things like hospitalizations and deaths will likely rise. While the decrease in deaths from a couple of weeks ago is very good news, it’s likely due to things like improved care and possibly even lower lethality of new variants.
The current administration seems to have a different emphasis on economics than did the Vizcarra administration. Mid-March is generally the start of Peru’s tourism season and they must be very aware of the effects of the loss of a second year of tourism which normally begin to peak in a couple of months.
The ignorance of so many expats who actively advocate for things like anti-masking or opening businesses and completely reactivating tourism is really sad as it’s clear that making money is all that matters for so many gringos who are unconcerned with Peruvians in the country which graciously allowed them to come and begin a new life.
(Trust me, the hate messages and even threats I receive all the time make their selfish, arrogant, and ignorant attitudes regarding science and basic humanity very, very clear. The assertion that this data is inaccurate because someone saw a video on social media is also really concerning. Yes, someone actually questioned my reports based on a video they saw of something happening in a single community.)
Barring some major change, I’ll report again on April 2 when information through the end of March will have been released.
In the middle of the night, Peru’s Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MTC) announced that the transportation strike that has affected travel along many of Peru’s major and minor roads has come to an end.
A little after 2 a.m. MTC published the following press release:
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications makes public the following:
We welcome the decision of the transportation unions who, for the benefit of the country, have prioritized the interests of Peruvians, by signing the act of agreements with the Government and lifting their measure of force that will allow free transit on the highways.
Within the agreements, the inclusion of diesel in the fuel price stabilization fund was determined. This measure will benefit many economic activities and especially Peruvian families, achieving a direct positive impact on their economy.
The representatives of the transportation guilds that signed the agreement are: The president of the National Guild of Transporters and Drivers of Peru – GNTC Peru, Rolando Gomero Calderón, and his vice president, Iván Valencia Velarde; the president of the National Association of Land Freight Transportation (ANATEC), Bruno Aberasturi Seoane; the president of the Transport and Logistics Guild of Peru & America (GTL), Geovanni Diez; and representatives of UNT Callao, Jorge Souza Ferreyra, Luis Vega Gutiérrez, Henry Montero Allauca and Willy Chanduvi Passapera.
From the Ministry of Transportation and Communications we reaffirm our commitment to look after the interests of the population and the institutional framework in the country, prioritizing respect, constructive dialogue and consensus at all times.
In the last two days national police forces had been actively ending the closure of Peru’s road system. There was no reported violence, though there had been instances of violence between strikers and those who sought to pass through the road closures including assaults and one bus that was completely burned to the frame.
The director of the National Council of Land Transportation, Martin Ojeda, pointed out that the agreement reached between the Government and several unions of this sector “is not at all clear” due to the fact that bus transportation “has not signed the act and does not intend to sign it”; however, he specified that they have agreed to suspend the strike despite not being in agreement.
“We do not agree with this move that is being made and because of the atomization of the truckers’ unions, of which 4 have signed this act, sincerely, with all due respect I say it, very aberrant for the agreements that were being reached. We suspend, but we have not signed the act”, the leader pointed out.
“This is considered a triumph by the government (but) it is a shame that at 11 o’clock at night, when we had already left, one of the members of these truck drivers calls us thinking that they were calling everyone, but they were only calling this group. It is chaos. Unfortunately we do not consider it a transparent attitude, we do not consider it an agreement as it should be, and this will be seen with time”, he added.
In an interview with RPP Noticias, Ojeda pointed out that this suspension implies that this Saturday they will resume the transport service; however, he clarified that “we will continue in permanent assembly to establish with greater tranquility, without depending on the truckers’ unions, a measure of force or continue with the dialogue independently”.
Ojeda explained that the union’s position is due to its rejection of the Selective Consumption Tax (ISC). In this respect, he commented that they are going to propose the return of 80% of the ISC proposed by the Executive, as well as the revision of tolls, in order not to comply with a new stoppage.