Truck Drivers Strike

Aug 29, 2020

On 28 August 2020, truck drivers entered day two of an “indefinite” nationwide strike to protest the increasing incidence of violence affecting the restive province of Araucania and what union members perceive as the government’s slow response in providing additional security to the region. Members of the union National Confederation of Chilean Cargo Transport (CNTC) have blocked Route 68 near the city of Casablanca in the province of Valparaíso. Additionally, trucks are stationed along Route 78 — also known as the Autopista del Sol — outside of the capital Santiago; the route leads to the coastal city of San Antonio. Truck drivers have also blocked other major roads across the country. Union officials representing the drivers are calling on the government to modernize the police forces by strengthening its intelligence capabilities and passing an anti-terrorism bill in Congress. Government officials concede that improved security is needed for the region and express concern that if the strike persists, deliveries of food and medical supplies will be hindered amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The region of south-central Chile has experienced a protracted conflict between the indigenous Mapuche and the Chilean government. During recent months, attacks on transport providers and factories have spiked in the province of Araucania, which is home to 1.7 million indigenous Mapuche. Overnight on 27-28 August, a large arson attack was reported in Araucania near Termas de Tolhuaca, Curacautín, against a property owned by a prominent political family that includes a former congressman and a regional prosecutor.

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