Transport workers in Paraguay lift strike after fuel price cut deal

The government of Paraguay reached an agreement with transport workers — including truckers, ride-hailing app drivers, and autonomous logistics workers — by proposing a reduction in gasoline and diesel prices at the pump. The announcement ended a week-long wave of new protests.

The agreement was confirmed by Interior Minister Federico González, who said that a government-backed bill seeking lower prices from Petropar, the country’s state-owned oil company, has been sent to Congress.

Mr. González remembered that the government cannot simply “ll fuel below cost” since it would “damage Petropar” and also mount to misplacement [of public funds].” Paraguay imports all of its fuel.

Darío Toñánez, a spokesman for the workers, said the decision showed the government’s commitment to their request — even if the cuts are slimmer than unions had demanded. Mr. Toñánez added that the sector is still hoping for better pricing conditions in the short term, mentioning Petropar’s plan to renew its stock next month — which could result in a total price reduction of PYG 1,000 (USD 0.14 cents) per liter.

The agreement came a few days after a press conference in which President Mario Abdo Benítez said that Paraguayans could expect some reductions in fuel prices “soon” — without saying how or when. At the time, Mr. Abdo Benítez’s words sparked criticism among the groups leading the strike, while Petropar boss Denis Lichi was still trying to calm local markets.

Riven with inflation and political struggles, Paraguay has experienced a series of socioeconomic-related protests throughout 2022. And fuel is a reason that stands out: between January and June this year, gas and diesel prices increased on at least five different occasions. With the new announcements, the government is seeking to resolve this discontent, for now.

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