Nicaraguan protests strand truckers, hit Panama economy

595Views 0Comments Posted 18/06/2018

Panama trucking companies with vehicles  trapped in Nicaragua by the anti-government demonstrations have lost over $!00 million and put another dent in Panama’s economy, René Paredes, president of Panama's Chamber of Transportation and (Canatraca), told the newspaper La Prensa de Nicaragua

Most of the Panamanian transporters remained trapped in Nicaragua until the end of last week, due to the demonstrations against Daniel Ortega's government, which have led to over 150 deaths.

The president of  Panama’s Chamber of Commerce,  Gabriel Barletta, said that the priority is for truckers to return to the country as soon as possible. Some have been stranded for  up to three weeks

"It's definitely a negative effect [for the national economy] because we cannot be exporting products," Barletta said. "We have an industry that is stopped right now, but the main thing is that Panamanians can return to their homeland as soon as possible."

According to the Foreign Ministry, 16 of the trapped transporters have managed to move towards the border with Costa Rica.

The news agency EFE reported that there were between 150 and 200 Panamanian truckers initially trapped on the roads of Nicaragua, while the Foreign Ministry reported that until last Friday it had contacted some 70 transporters through a support center that was activated for that purpose.

For weeks, groups demanding the resignation of the Nicaraguan president and his wife and vice president, Rosario Murillo, blocked roads to pressure the government.

Some trapped truckers told local television station Telemetro that they had not received help from the Panamanian embassy but Analuisa Bustamante, director of Economic Relations of Panama’s,  Foreign Ministry said that the stranded transporters have been assisted with food and medicines. but stressed that it is not always possible to access the areas where they are trapped.

The National Customs Authority has suspended shipment of cargo from the Colon Free Zone to Nicaragua as long as the conflict persists in the Central American country.

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