TEGUCIGALPA – Honduras’s capital city was paralyzed April 27 by taxi drivers demanding that the government reduce fuel prices.
The cabbies blocked a number of Tegucigalpa’s strategic streets and thorough fares as well as routes out of the city, effectively stopping cargo transport and obliging thousands to get around on foot.
After several hours, police violently dispersed taxi drivers from several points around the city, but others remained blockaded.
The protest was led by the Taxi Drivers Association, according to its president, Roberto Paguada, who said that some 7,300 taxis operate in the capital.
Another leader, Pompilio Zeron, told reporters that Honduran President Manuel Zelaya sent several envoys to ask for an end to the protests, but none brought word that he would meet with them to resolve the problem.
Nonetheless, local media reported that high officials in the government had established contact with strike leaders and with the National Transportation Council.
Ironically, Zelaya had to endure last week exactly what he promoted in 2005, when as presidential candidate for the Liberal Party he backed a similar strike of taxi drivers against a steep rise in fuel prices imposed by the National Party government of Ricardo Maduro.
Last Sunday, Zelaya’s government put a fuel-price increase into effect. Taxi drivers complained that besides soaring fuel costs, the price of spare parts for their vehicles and the overall cost of living have shot up in recent months.