Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rising Gas Prices

Around the world, gas prices are rising. BIG SURPRISE!!! I know. Here's another one. The poor are more affected than anyone by this surge in costs.

Here in Nicaragua we're a week and a half into a transport work stoppage by taxis and buses. Yes, in a country where the majority of the people are too poor to have a car, their main mode of transport, getting their products to market and generally accomplishing anything has been taken away.

Some of the thousands of buses in Nicaragua parked alongside the road in Granada in the middle of the day.

Basically it breaks down like this. Gas prices have increased incredibly in a very short amount of time. While this is happening in the US, they raise their prices. But the users of the transport system here can't pay anymore (the whole living below the edge of poverty make that tough).

Transport wants subsidies, but the everyone knows that there isn't really anywhere to take the money for the subsidy from. President Ortega decided last week was a good week to go to France, and while he is returning, there is still no solution in sight.

A Nicaraguan 'taxi' that is allowed by the strike. A billboard in the distance shows President Ortega, fist in the air and says 'Power to the Citizen'.

The border with Costa Rica has been effectively shut down in an effort by those involved in the strike to make the government take their efforts seriously. This affects the economy in so many ways, the transport of goods has stopped, but so has the movement of Nicaraguans to their jobs in Costa Rica, a huge source of income here.

The self appointed transport police checking to make sure no one is transporting for profit. The police are present to maintain order and/or stand around and chat with everyone.

While there has been some deaths due to violence and car burnings in the northern part of the country, things here have been peaceful, though tense. I continue to be incredibly fortunate in my work with NPH that they have cars and trucks we can use to get to and from the work site.

We are also at a low point in terms of workers on the jobsite, and the contractor we have is so excellent that he has not once used the transport strike as an excuse not to accomplish his contractual duties (although we have some people on smaller projects who are not doing the same).

My explanation of the situation may not make much sense. But that is representative of the situation we are in. When prices for a necessity go up in this world, who pays? The nonsensical, but true answer is the poor.

1 comment:

nicapamela said...

i'm glad you and others are writing about this situation.i wish my organization didn;t have to be so careful or i would write my own 2 cents too. thank goodness it's over (for now). the economic impact has indeed been devastating.