Despite Tuesday's announcements, Paraguayan truckers and national authorities failed to close a deal Wednesday and road blockades are to continue pending a new meeting scheduled for Thursday.
The conflict has so far drawn several requests for the dismissal of Interior Minister Arnaldo Giuzzio for his inability to enforce freedom of transit as set forth in the Paraguayan Constitution, while seven lorry drivers have been arrested so far after clashes with the police.
The strike will remain in force until certain details of the proposal submitted by the Technical Committee for Freight Transportation are fine-tuned, it was announced Wednesday.
Truckers union leader Ángel Zaracho explained that the delay in reaching an agreement was due to details being finalized so that the agreement can be fulfilled and does not end up being breached as it happened on previous occasions.
Zaracho insisted the role of Paraguay's Executive was to become a a regulator between the parties.
Until Wednesday noon, the union had agreed on the government's price proposal, but was maintaining the road blockades in demand of the freight bill being passed by the Senate.
Zaracho said some senators were being cowards for not supporting the bill, which has been approved broadly and is pending detailed discussions and vowed to “take care of the senators once negotiations are finished.”
“The transportation sector is never going to give up. There are very important actors in Congress who are acting very cowardly,” he added.
Zaracho also hoped the strike would be solved by Thursday. For two weeks, truckers have been mobilized in various parts of the country, staging intermittent roadblocks, to demand a better price for freight services, while companies affiliated with the Paraguayan Industrial Union (UIP) denounced the union before the Prosecutor's Office for aggravated extortion, coercion and serious coercion which has led to daily losses of around US $ 30 million.
Meanwhile, in Villarrica seven truckers charged with various punishable acts were granted house arrest Wednesday after being detained over the past few days for violent clashes with police..
The drivers had been charged with dangerous interventions in land traffic, disturbance to public peace, coercion and resistance. Judge Derlis Duarte ruled they did not need to be in an incarceration facility and can stay under house arrest pending trial.
Víctor Ortigoza, from the Guairá Truckers Association, has denied the events his comrades were charged with never occured. “The routes were not closed. At no time was the passage of the vehicles impeded. The fellow truck drivers were indicted in an irregular and arbitrary manner,” he said.
The truckers were apprehended on Monday afternoon, after riot police intervened at the Villarrica-Paraguarí crossing, following a complaint that the protesters were closing that route, preventing the passage of vehicles.