The Colombian air force on Saturday transported 190 foreigners who were trapped in Cali, Colombia’s third largest city, due to an ongoing strike by Colombian coffee growers.
The coffee growers strike, which started February 25, has prevented travel along the Pan American Highway, leaving foreign tourists stranded in Cali’s bus transport terminal. In response, the air force transported the stranded tourists in a Boeing 727 to the city of Pasto in Colombia’s southwest Nariño department, where they continued their journey. The government of Peru in collaboration with Colombia’s air force also helped another group of 120 travelers get back to Lima on Saturday.
Stranded Colombians did not receive the same assistance as the foreign tourists however and, in protest, reportedly tried to block the buses containing the foreigners from departing the terminal en route to the airport.
Tourists from Ecuador and Chile have also been kept waiting for assistance from their own respective governments.
The roads have been blocked since coffee workers went on strike on February 25 to protest what they see as lack of government support for the troubled coffee industry.