Nicaraguan taxi and bus drivers that transport an estimated 1.5 million people a day say they won't start up their engines again until the government sits down to negotiate a solution to skyrocketing gas prices, the highest in Central America.
The strike also includes trucks drivers.
At least 80 percent of urban and interurban public transportation and cabs from most of the country's 17 departments have supported the protest, according to several sources.
As the strike has gone on there have been increasing incidents between the strikers and the National Police. Police spokeswoman, Commissioner Major Vilma Reyes, warned that authorities will take tough action against strikers who violate the law.
Vidal Almendárez, president of the Federation of Taxi Drivers says in the Nica Times, There's been no response from the president of the republic to end the strike. There have been attempts to negotiate locally, but we're telling them negotiations have to happen here in the capital.”
The only bus drivers that have kept the motors running were those on urban Managua routes, which receive a subsidized gas price that is about half the market price for gas in Nicaragua, which was more than 90 córdobas a gallon this week ($4.70).
Almendárez said the rest of the country's bus and taxi drivers want a deal similar to Managua buses, and want the government to sit down with driver union leaders to find a solution.
The cost of fuel is high everywhere, but salaries in Nicaragua are oftentimes only USD$200 a month, making a tank of gas ($50) almost out of reach.
The majority of vehicles in Managua are not privately owned, they are taxis and vans for hire.
Meanwhile, at least 90 percent of Guatemala is affected by a heavy transportation strike there, which is also in its third day today. Nearly 1,200 containers loaded with merchandise, some of them perishable, are stranded on Atlantic and Pacific roads, according to organizers of the protests.
The following is from Monsters and Critics.
Over 100 arrested in Nicaraguan clashes during transport strike
Managua - Nicaraguan police arrested over 100 people Wednesday during the third day of a transport strike in the Central American country.
National Police Commissioner Vilma Reyes told Nicaraguan media on Wednesday that the arrests were carried out late Tuesday, after strike activists threw stones at police officers in several parts of the country.
Protests from freight, long-distance bus and taxi services are demanding that the government 'freeze' the price of fuel or subsidize the sector in the face of the international rise in the price of oil. During the protests traffic across Nicaragua was reduced to private cars and urban buses, although the latter have threatened to join the strike.
The leftist government of President Daniel Ortega has not commented on the situation.