The drama in Puno also affects Bolivian carriers

The drama in Puno also affects Bolivian carriers

“We are being held hostage by the blockadeers of Desaguadero del Perú,” Ramiro Sullcani, president of the Departmental Chamber of Heavy Transport of La Paz, assures this newspaper. In total, there are almost 800 Bolivian carriers from La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz who have been, since January 4 to date, in the Peruvian territory of the border, unable to return to their country.

Until now, Bolivian carriers have not suffered physical attacks or damage to their cargo vehicles, but this is because, for two weeks, 500 of them have been paying 10 soles a day, each one, to the residents of the Puno district. de Desaguadero for the rental of garages where they have to store their trucks. This means a payment of 5 thousand soles per day.

LOOK: Puno seeks to reactivate, but strikes and blockades do not stop after a month

The other 300 trucks are lined up, one after the other, on the road that leads to the border crossing with Bolivia, which is forbidden to pass through the residents.

THEY BEG AND GIVE SODA

From the beginning of the blockades, which began on January 4, until two weeks ago, these 800 Bolivian trucks were in the Huacullani district of Puno, 36 kilometers away from Desaguadero. But they were able to convince the protesters to allow them to move forward and hope that they will eventually be allowed to cross the border bridge at some point.

“We have begged and invited soft drinks to get to Desaguadero,” recalls Sullcani, referring to the fact that the carriers have had to beg the protesters to let them go to the border.

Drain. Another image of the Bolivian trucks parked in open spaces along the border line. (Photo: Peru 21)

Who did they have to talk to so they can go to Desaguadero? we asked. Sullcani responds that he did it with the Aymara lieutenant governors or authorities who wear a black poncho, unlike the community members on his country’s side, who wear a red poncho. “On the Peruvian side, black ponchos are the hallmark,” adds the leader.

However, he says that, so far, the protesters have not asked them for any economic payment to cross the border. He says that, in a last communication with the organizers of the blockades from Puno, they have asked them to grant them a “humanitarian pass” to cross the border. So far, they have not received a response.

That request has also been sent to the Foreign Ministry of his country, but it “does not want to put its hands in”, so as not to cause interference, he explains.

MILLIONAIRE LOSSES

The president of the El Alto Heavy Transport Chamber, Gustavo Rivadeneyra, assures Peru21 that there are another 400 Bolivian transporters who are stranded, also in Desaguadero, but in the sector of his country.

Although they cannot cross into Peru either, many of them have chosen to cross the border with Arica, Chile.

Sullcani and Rivadeneyra agree, separately, that the violent demonstrations in Peru have caused a loss to their sector of US$5 million. However, the economic damage has been greater for importing businessmen, who – adds Sullcani – have a daily loss of US$280,000. In these almost 60 days of blockades, he indicates, the economic impact for carriers and importers exceeds 22 million dollars.

On the Peruvian side, there are empty Bolivian trucks, and others with cargo, especially those that come from the ports of Ilo and Matarani. These have articles for the mining and hardware sector, such as iron, beams and plastic. And, on the Bolivian side, the trucks have grains and bottles of soybean oil, mostly from Santa Cruz.

A view of the Bolivian trucks, which were in Huacullani, and are waiting to cross the border.
A view of the Bolivian trucks, which were in Huacullani, and are waiting to cross the border.

Former Transportation Vice Minister Virgilio Acuña told this newspaper that it would be useless to lift the blockade because, later, the strike by the Peruvian carriers could return, who, since before the protests, wanted a dry port in Desaguadero, so that the truckers from the neighboring country, leave your heavy load there and let the Peruvians take it to its final destination.

Acuña said that this proposal has been included in a bill by the Ministry of Transportation and is currently in Congress. Bolivian leaders assured Peru21 that they will “never allow” that to happen.

KEEP IN MIND

-Only four roads in Puno remain blocked. The roadblocks due to the demonstrations went from 33 to six, reported the Superintendence of Land Transportation of People (Sutran).

-The MTC did not respond until the closing of this edition about what it is going to do for the stranded carriers.

-A report from the Fourth Estate confirmed yesterday the agony that truckers from the neighboring country are going through, in Desaguadero, who hope to cross the border soon.

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